thank you, moon

Ever Given and 6 other reasons to be thankful for the Moon

DigitalGlobe/ScapeWare3d/DigitalGlobe/Getty Images

After a week of being wedged in the Suez Canal — and halting traffic in one of the world’s most important trade passageways — the Ever Given was finally freed on Monday.

ESA

How did this happen? In part, because of the Moon.

On Sunday, a full “worm Moon” rose and its gravitational tug pulled a tide to its highest point in months — about 18 inches above normal.

This helped free Ever Given.

Nicholas Gannon / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images

High and low tides are one obvious effect of the Moon’s gravitational pull on Earth — but there are plenty of other phenomena caused by the Moon that we ought to be grateful for. (Although the Ever Given memes were great while they lasted.)

Here are six other reasons why we should be grateful for Earth’s only natural satellite.

Anadolu Agency/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Sleep

Giphy

NASA

The Moon regulates our sleep cycle.

People go to sleep later in the evening and slumber for shorter periods of time in the days leading up to a full Moon, according to research released in January.

Abhishek Mehta/Moment/Getty Images

The effect on our sleep may be a result of our ancestors relying on moonlight as the only source of light, the study argues. The research team found brighter nights resulted in staying awake for longer periods of time.

Longer days on Earth

Giphy

NASA

We can also credit the Moon for longer days on Earth.

KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images

A 2018 study suggests that 1.4 billion years ago, a day on Earth lasted for only 18 hours because the Moon was closer to our planet and affected the way the Earth spun around its axis.

Seasons

NASA

The Moon is also, in part, responsible for the change in seasons.

NASA

The impact that formed the Moon may be responsible for the Earth’s tilt, which gives our planet its varying seasons as it tilts towards and away from the Sun.

The Moon still helps Earth maintain that tilt till today.

Animal navigation

Giphy

The Moon also affects the natural phenomenon that governs the life of animals.

Shutterstock

Take the dung beetle, Scarabaeus zambesianus.

It uses the polarization pattern of the moonlight and the way it scatters through the atmosphere to navigate its way in a straight line.

Wikipedia

Meanwhile, Barau’s Petrel — an endangered bird species in the Indian Ocean — flock toward their mating grounds every year at the full Moon.

Ocean life

Giphy

sakchai vongsasiripat/Moment/Getty Images

The mating of coral reefs is triggered by the Moon, usually releasing their eggs and sperm into the sea right after a full Moon.

The Moon may not control our moods as astrology suggests, but it does bring about many perks that we should be thankful for.

For more on space, click here.

NASa