Notice anything funny about the moon lately?
It should look a little larger, about 14 per cent larger, to be precise. That’s because tonight, Canadians will be treated to a lunar spectacle they won’t forget.
A supermoon, which occurs when a full moon coincides with perigee (the moment the moon reaches its closest point to Earth), will grace our skies on Saturday night. And if you’ve been feeling a little off lately, you’re not alone. Studies have found that supermoons can mess with our planet and bodies in ways we’d never expect. So before you set up the telescopes, here’s everything you need to know about them:
Here are the unexpected ways Saturday’s supermoon will totally mess with you
They can make you insaneA Canadian study found that there is no link between full moons and mental health, but medical staff swear otherwise. The same research found that 80 per cent of nurses and 64 per cent of doctors were convinced that more mentally ill patients were showing up during full moons. You have to wonder what made so many of them so certain.Getty
More women give birthIf you're pregnant and entering your final trimester, you might want to set your due date for Saturday. A study out of Université Rennes looked at 29,385,552 births across 470 lunar cycles over 37 years and found a "significant" increase in the number of births that occured in the window around full moons. "An analysis of 37 years of data demonstrated a small but statistically significant influence of the lunar cycle on deliveries," the study concluded.Reuters
You'll feel a little drowsyPrep a coffee for tomorrow morning, you'll need it. Swedish researchers found that people tend to sleep around 20 minutes less when the moon is full. This is because the brain is apparently more susceptible to "external disturbances", like noise, during the lunar phase.Reuters
You might get angry for no reasonPolice in the U.K. are so certain that full moons make people more aggressive, that they actually put more officers on the streets for them in 2007. "Research carried out by us has shown a correlation between violent incidents and full moons," a Sussex police spokeswoman told The Guardian. A study out of Germany in 2010, however, found no significant connection.Reuters
You'll notice higher tides than normalBut don't bother boarding up your windows or anything. Because full moons occur when the Sun lines up with the moon and the Earth, the effect of tides is increased via their combined gravitational pull. These are called spring tides because they make the water spring higher. But don't worry, the average tidal effect on a massive body of water like the great lakes usually only amounts to a 2-inch increase in water level. Reuters
Full moons are bigger in the winter...Every year around January, the Earth reaches its closest point to the sun, called Perihelion. Because the star's gravity then pulls the moon closer toward our planet, full moons appear even larger during cold, winter months. We can only assume that all of our previously mentioned scenarios would only get worse during this time. Reuters
But they're ultimately going to get smallerEnjoy your moon viewing while you can, because they're going to get a lot smaller. Because of gravitational forces, expanding universes and other nerdy stuff we aren't going to get into, the moon is moving away from the Earth at a rate of about 4 cm per year. Not to mention that right now, it's already about 384,000 km away from us. We wonder how that'll affect the tides... Reuters