Mars - not as close as you may be led to believe

Mars.  So close, and yet not: Image courtesy NASA and ESA.
Mars. So close, and yet not: Image courtesy NASA and ESA.
So, a friend of mine wrote me the other day to tell me about upcoming spectacular Mars viewing on August 27. Here’s the email:

Two moons on 27 August

Planet Mars will be the brightest in the night sky starting August.

It will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye. This will culminate on Aug. 27 when Mars comes within 34.65M miles of earth. Be sure to watch the sky on Aug. 27 12:30 am. It will look like the earth has 2 moons. The next time Mars may come this close is in 2287.

Share this with your friends as NO ONE ALIVE TODAY will ever see it again.

My thoughts on this email...

This email is not a hoax exactly – but it is a case of once true and now outdated information mixed with bad information arising out of a bizarre “telephone game” like scenario.

Mars was this close to Earth…on August 27, 2003. And looking through a telescope at it at that time it would appear as large when viewed through the telescope as the moon does to the naked eye.

However, this close approach (called an opposition) was only slightly closer than other recent oppositions, which regularly occur every 26 months, and are closest twice every 32 years, alternately at 15 and 17-year intervals, and always between late July and late September.

Learn more about the “hoax” on Snopes.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I recieved this same e-mail Augest 4th of 2007 i was very disappointed when i went outside to see this spectacular event and the planet mars was not as big as the e-mail stated it would be. I am very upset with whoever started this e-mail.

posted on Mon, 08/27/2007 - 11:33pm

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