This is your yearly reminder: Mars will NOT be as big as the moon on August 27, 2016 (or any other year for that matter).
The classic internet hoax lives on, as seen in this viral post in Azerbaijani:
But it’s not the first time this hoax has grabbed people’s attention. Last year, I almost fell for this post that a Facebook friend shared.
In this post were two photos showing Mars to be similar in size to the moon — though anyone with an eye for detail can tell the photo is a fake: The red object in the photo is just a crimson version of the moon superimposed next to the natural moon, and not some giant version of Mars.
Along with the photos is a caption stating that on August 27, 2015, at exactly 12:30 a.m., the moon and Mars will be side by side illuminating the night sky (the same information, according to Google Translate, was on this year’s post).
It’s a hoax that’s been around in one form or another since 2003.
When the hoax began 13 years ago, it was sparked by a real, rare event: Mars came closer to Earth than ever had in recorded history, a distance of just 35 million miles. This is what it looked like:
Some took the news of the red planet’s close approach way too far and said the red planet would appear as large as the moon, but that’s not the case at all.
Here’s what would happen if Mars really was as big as the moon
To clear the air, back in 2005, NASA said in a post, “If Mars did come close enough to rival the moon, its gravity would alter Earth’s orbit and raise terrible tides.”
No such tides swept the planet in 2003, and none will do so at the end of the month as the Facebook post implies. Even more insulting perhaps is the fact that Mars will not even be particularly near the Earth at the end of this month — the time and date provided in the post are a mere perpetuation from the 2003 time and date and do not coincide with any significant celestial event.
We will not see another close approach of Mars like the one in 2003 again until the year 2287.
But unfortunately, seeing Mars the size of the moon likely won’t ever happen. Nor, I suppose, would we want it to.