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Two Moons on August 27?

Netlore Archive: Close encounter with Mars

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Two Moons - Mars Close to Earth on August 27

"Two moons" as pictured in forwarded email (actually depicted: moons of Saturn)

Original source: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Online rumor circulating for the past ten years claims Aug. 27 will bring 'the closest encounter between Mars and Earth in recorded history.'

Description: Email rumor / Hoax
Circulating since: 2003 (this version: 2007)
Status: Outdated / False (see details below)
See also: 2013 version

2010 example:
As posted on the Internet, June 23, 2010:

Two moons on 27th August 2010

27th Aug the Whole World is waiting for....

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 cultivate on Aug. 27 when Mars comes within 34.65M miles off earth. Be sure to watch the sky on Aug. 27 @ 11:00 PM (UAE Local Time). 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.



2007 example:
Email contributed by Susan T., July 25, 2007:

FW: TWO MOONS

MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR THIS

** Two moon on 27 August ***

27th Aug the Whole World is waiting for.............

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 happen 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.



Analysis: Old news. The text of this rumor was roughly accurate when a version of it first started circulating in the summer of 2003. However, it was outdated by the time it went around again in 2005, and just plain false when it appeared for the third and fourth times in 2006 and 2007.

It was still false when it came back under the header "Two Moons on August 27" in 2008, and again in the form of a PowerPoint slide show titled "Mars Spectacular" in 2009, 2010, 2011, etc.

Now it's 2013 and yet another version is making the rounds. How many times can a "once in a lifetime" event occur?

Here are the facts. Ten 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.

October 2005 brought another well-publicized "close encounter," though in that case Earth and Mars were 13 million kilometers further apart than during the 2003 event.

Nothing so spectacular is predicted for 2013.

More spacey urban legends:
Good Luck, Mr. Gorsky!
The "Eye of God" in Outer Space
Real Photo of "Double Sunset" on Mars?
Did NASA Scientists Confirm the Biblical "Missing Day in Time"?
Did NASA Predict a "Total Blackout" of Earth in Dec. 2012?
NASA's $12 Billion Space Pen
Did Astronauts Conduct Sex Experiments in Space?


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News coverage:

Quashing the Myth of a Moon-Sized Mars
Fox News, 26 August 2010

Mars-Moon Hoax Returns
CBC News, 26 August 2010

The Mutating Mars Hoax
NASA Science News, 25 August 2010

'Mars as Big as the Moon' Myth Makes a Return
Herald Sun, 9 August 2010

Sky-Watcher Beware: Mars Email a 'Spectacular' Hoax
Nat'l Geographic News, 26 August 2009

Mars as Big as the Moon: It's Baaaaack
Discover / Bad Astronomy blog, 19 August 2008


Previously:

Close Encounter with Mars on August 27 (2003)
Urban Legends, July 2003

Mars Spectacular on August 27 (2006)
Urban Legends, July 2006


Last updated: 08/24/13

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