Beware the annual Mars Hoax

An email is circulating, as it has every August since 2003, announcing a once-in-a-lifetime event during which Mars is closer to the earth than it has ever been, and that it will look as large as the Moon. This event actually took place in August 2003, when the Moon was at a perihelic opposition to the Earth and appeared larger than it is likely to appear in our lifetime.

A significant Mars event will occur in December 2007, according to NASA:

Earth and Mars are converging, and right now the distance between the two planets is shrinking at a rate of 22,000 mph–or about 25 miles per sentence. Ultimately, this will lead to a close approach in late December 2007 when Mars will outshine every star in the night sky. Of a similar encounter in the 19th century, astronomer Percival Lowell wrote the following: “[Mars] blazes forth against the dark background of space with a splendor that outshines Sirius and rivals the giant Jupiter himself.”

But while the email announcing the August 27 date is incorrect, there is still something unique occurring on that day:

While there won’t be Two Moons on August 27th, there will be Two Eyes. At 3 o’clock in the morning on that date, Mars will rise in the eastern sky alongside the red giant star Aldebaran. The two red lights side-by-side will resemble two eerie, unblinking eyes. This is worth waking up for!

Source: (courtesy of )

By | 2007-08-22T22:45:00+00:00 August 22nd, 2007|Astronomy|Comments Off on Beware the annual Mars Hoax
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