A palm tree is silhouetted against a supermoon in Whittier, Calif., Saturday, July 12, 2014.
The night skies were all the rage during the second weekend in July. People were on the lookout for the so-called “super moon.” It won’t be the last one this month, either. But, a local expert says the super moon is not what it seems.
When people hear the term, they often expect to see an enormous, bright moon peaking above the horizon. But, that’s not quite the reality. In fact, Dave Hostetter, curator at the Lafayette Science Museum says the super moon is all hype. In his opinion, it’s driven by certain public relations and advertising tactics.
"Up until a few years ago, super moon was something no one heard about,” said Hostetter. “It was just not discussed. It was called a perigee moon, which is a technical phrase for it and it was no big deal."
Hostetter says the super moon is only slightly larger than normal and it's hardly detectable by the human eye. He says most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
"There's really not much to see with the super moon,” said Hostetter. “In fact, if you saw it, you were 12 hours late with the full moon, which was that morning and 12 hours too early for the perigee, when the moon was closest to the earth."
"The difference between the biggest and smallest full moon is the difference between the finger at arm’s length and the tip of a quarter,” said Hostetter.
Between folklore and blockbuster movies, people’s fascination with the moon and its effect on life has’t wavered. However, Hostetter says over the decades of his work in the field, he’s seen no evidence to prove lunar changes affect human behavior.
"There's study after study that shows when there's a full moon, there's no increase in crime, birth rate, or anything else that's often attributed to a full moon,” said Hostetter.
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