The first full moon of 2014: "Mini-moon" - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

The first full moon of 2014: "Mini-moon"

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - How's your day been? Feeling a little tired? Forgetful? Well maybe it's not you.

Wednesday night (Jan 15) at 9 p.m. our first full moon of 2014 made its debut. A recent study may help us understand how the moon impacts everything from our tides to human and animal behavior.

Our first full moon of 2014 is being dubbed the mini-moon which is about 252,610 miles away (apogee). That's 30,786 miles further from earth than its closest distance, known as perigee, which is 221,824 miles. However "mini" the moon may appear, your troubles over the next day or two may feel enormous.

Before we get to that, consider the animal kingdom. Some species arrange their entire lives around the moon.

Some ocean corals put on a display of explosive spawning typically during the full moon. Scorpions are nocturnal, yet tend to hide at night when the moon is full. Scientists believe it has something to do with their glow-in-the-dark features. And locally, you can watch grunions running in the moonlight. Literally these fish get out of the water to lay their eggs in the wet sand.

So if you're feeling out of sorts during this full moon phase, can you blame it on the moon's gravitational pull? After all, it's strong enough to affect ocean tides, and the human body is made up of 60 percent water. The simple answer is no, according to astronomer George Abell, a mosquito sitting on your arm exerts more gravitational force on your body than the moon.

Still feeling funky? Maybe this lunacy has nothing to do with gravity, and more to do with the bright moonlight.

Scientists at the University of Basel, Switzerland found the evidence that sleep patterns are influenced by lunar phases. Published in Current Biology, this study shows brain activity related to deep sleep dropped by 30 percent during the full moon.

"It looks like this is the first ever story where it looks like there is a biological affect in human beings, of the cycle of the moon which makes it exciting on many levels," said Dr. Malcolm von Schantz of the University of Surrey.

"People on the nights of full moons took five minutes longer to fall asleep, they slept 20 minutes shorter. Melatonin sleep hormones were also way off," Time magazine science editor Jeffrey Kluger said.

So the next time you're feeling a little wild eyed, relax -- it's just the moon playing with your body's clock. Until more conclusive studies are done, try to work in an extra nap to prevent potential lunacy.

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