According to a message that is making its way around the Internet via social media, come April 20, we are set for a special celestial treat.
The message claims that, because several planets are going to align on that day, Earth’s moon will appear green for about 90 minutes. Supposedly, this ‘Green Moon’ phenomenon is an event that only occurs once every 420 years. The message asks that you ‘share this event’, and it appears that many people have done just that.
Here’s a transcript of the hoax message:
On April 20th Several Planets are going to align which will cause the earth’s moon to appear green for about 90 minutes. This phenomenon is known as “green moon” and only happens once every 420 years. PLEASE SHARE THIS EVENT
But, not surprisingly, the message is just a hoax. The moon will not be turning green on April 20. Nor will it be turning green on May 29th as claimed in an alternative version of the message.
The hoax first surfaced back in 2016 and another version gained momentum in 2017. So, the hoax looks set to be an annual event.
The EarthSky article points out that the date (4/20) and the ‘420 years’ mention is a sly reference to ‘Weed Day’, which is celebrated by pot smokers on April 20 because a long-running code word for marijuana is ‘420’.
The ‘planetary alignment’ reference has popped up in other hoaxes as well, including ongoing claims that an ‘extraordinary planetary alignment’ will decrease gravity for a time on a specified date.
It hardly needs to be said that the green shade of the moon in the meme is the result of some digital tomfoolery that used a standard moon image as its source. After all, even if the claims were true, cameras were more than a little scarce 420 years back.