Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Double Moon Hoax On August 27

If you received the message below, it is not true. This is a hoax e-mail message:
SEE MARS AS LARGE AS THE FULL MOON ON 27TH AUGUST 2014. Should be spectacular! Truly a once in a lifetime experience!

Subject: FW: Mars
Enjoy!!!
Amazing
This is a ‘truly once in a lifetime event’ that will occur in August. View the attachment and mark it on your calendars. None of us will live long enough to ever have the chance to view this again. Enjoy!!
The Red Planet is about to be spectacular!
This month and next, Earth is catching up with Mars in an encounter that will culminate in the closest approach between the two planets in recorded history. The next time Mars may come this close is in 2287. Due to the way Jupiter’s gravity tugs on Mars and perturbs its orbit, astronomers can only be certain that Mars has not come this close to Earth in the Last 5,000 years, but it may be as long as 60,000 years before it happens again.
The encounter will culminate on August 27th when Mars comes to within 34,649,589 miles of Earth and will be (next to the moon) the brightest object in the night sky. It will attain a magnitude of -2.9 and will appear 25.11 arc seconds wide at a modest 75-power magnification.
Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye.
Mars will be easy to spot. At the beginning of August it will rise in the east at 10p.m. and reach its azimuth at about 3 a.m.
By the end of August when the two planets are closest, Mars will rise at nightfall and reach its highest point in the sky at 12:30a.m. That’s pretty convenient to see something that no human being has seen in recorded history. So, mark your calendar at the beginning of August to see Mars grow progressively brighter and brighter throughout the month. Share this with your children and grandchildren.
NO ONE ALIVE TODAY WILL EVER SEE THIS AGAIN


  1. A long living internet hoax claims that Mars will be as large as the full moon on August 27th, 2014 (or other date), causing a double moon. The hoax is usually promoted in email messages and social media content, including Facebook posts and messages. 
  2. This hoax has been circulating ever since an event on August 27th, 2003 where Mars was the closest to Earth it has been in 60,000 years.
  3. The Mars hoax originated from an e-mail message in 2003, sometimes titled "Mars Spectacular", with images of Mars and the full moon side by side.
  4. The hoax, which has since resurfaced every year from 2005 through 2014, often showing an altered image of twin moons over the Nilov Monastery, and may continue to do so, always announcing an imminent close Earth–Mars approach, began from a misinterpretation and exaggeration of a sentence in an e-mail message that reported the close encounter between Mars and the Earth in August 2003.
  5. It’s not true. Mars will not be as large as the moon, causing a double moon in the sky on August 2014 or any other date. The content of the original email, although almost entirely correct for August 27, 2003, has falsely been redated to announce a new close Earth–Mars approach — the real close approach was in 2003 only — also misinterpreting the original e-mail by saying that Mars will look as large as the Moon. The later e-mails are incorrect, as Mars will not come as close to Earth as it did in 2003 until August 28, 2287.
  6. The moon will not be full on August 27, 2014 (you might spot it briefly as a thin crescent in the west after sunset, though). And Mars will not be at its brightest or closest in August of 2014, or at any time in 2014. 
  7. In 2014, Mars is closest to Earth on April 8, but it won’t be as close this year as in some years.
  8. 2005: Earth and Mars converged for a close encounter on 30 October 2005 at 0319 Universal Time with a distance of 69 million kilometers and to the unaided eye, Mars looked like a bright red star, a pinprick of light, certainly not as wide as the full Moon.
  9. 2003: Eleven years ago, on August 27, 2003, the oscillating orbits of Mars and Earth did, in fact, bring the two planets closer together than at any other time during the past 50,000 years. And though Mars never actually appeared "as large as the full moon to the naked eye" — not even close (and not even possible) — it was indeed, for a rare few days in 2003, among the brightest objects in the night sky. At that time, the distance between the two planets was about 55,758,000 kilometers, which was the closest distance between them since September 24, 57,617 BC, when the distance has been calculated to have been about 55,718,000 kilometers.
  10. However, even though the event in 2003 was an incredible spectacle, nothing is to be made out of it.Mars can never appear as large as a full moon as seen from Earth. 
  11. It is quite obviously scientifically incorrect that Mars, normally never more than a dot in the night sky, could suddenly become visibly large due to normal variations in orbit. If Mars did appear as large as the moon it would be so close that it would cause tidal and gravitational effects — Mars has about twice the diameter of the Moon, and hence would be about twice as far away for the same apparent size. It has nine times the mass of the Moon, and would have about twice the tidal effect (nine times the larger mass divided by relative distance squared). 
  12. Mars is already conspicuous in the early morning. Before the sun comes up, it's the brightest object in the eastern sky, really eye-catching. If you have a telescope, even a small one, point it at Mars. You can see the bright icy South Polar Cap and strange dark markings on the planet's surface.
References:

Mars-Moon Hoax: ‘Twin Moons’ and ‘As Big as Full Moon’ August 27 Post is a Decade Old, Fake
Mars hoax
Hoax: See Mars as large as the full moon on August 27th, 2014
Beware the Mars Hoax
Twin Moon Hoax Goes Viral: Mars Not As Big As Moon
Double moon on August 27?
Two Moons on August 27?

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