A rumor being spread on social media sites is claiming Mars will be be as big as the moon on August 27, 2014, but it’s just a hoax.
The rumor was being shared all of this week, but it’s been around for at least the past decade.
NASA trashed the rumor back in 2005. ” The Red Planet is about to be spectacular. The rest is a hoax,” the US space agency said at the time.
Later, in 2006, a Florida astronomical society debunked the rumor. “Since 2003 bogus information has been circulating on the Internet including e-mail about a close approach of Mars on August 27,” the website said in 2006.
And on Wednesday, the National Space Agency of Malaysia also touched on the hoax. “It is an old message which has been circulating since 2003,” it said.
“It is to be noted that the distance of Mars will be stable on its orbit on that night at 201.69 million km (125.28 million miles) from earth, and not 34.65 million miles as rumoured,” the agency added in a statement.
The original hoax goes like this:
“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 (55,763,108 km) 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.”