According to a message that is currently circulating via social media, you will see two moons in the sky on August 27th, one of which will be the planet Mars. Supposedly, Mars will appear as large as the Moon.
The post features images depicting the “two moons”. The message claims that no one alive today has ever witnessed this event. It also claims that the event won’t happen again until the year 2287.
But, in fact, the message is just a silly hoax that has circulated in various forms for many years.
Mars will never look as large as the moon in the sky. If it did, then it would have cataclysmic consequences for Earth, Mars and the Moon.
Don’t be fooled by the Mars Hoax. The message is that Mars will look as big as the Moon in our night sky. If that were true, we’d be in big trouble given the gravitational pulls on Earth, Mars, and our Moon!
In fact, this version of the hoax is just a mutated variant of the old “Closest Approach in Recorded History” Mars hoax, which has circulated continually since around 2005. The closest approach hoax was originally derived from a real close approach that occurred back in August 2003.
According to NASA, on August 27, 2003, Earth and Mars were the closest they have been for around 60,000 years. Mars was indeed a spectacular sight in the night sky during several months of 2003. And it is true that Mars will not be that close to Earth again until the year 2287.
That said, in 2018, Mars was again relatively close to the Earth, although not quite as close as it was in 2003. Mars appeared brightest in the sky in late July 2018. By mid-August, 2018 it was growing fainter.
However, even at its brightest in July, Mars never looked even close to the size of the moon. That claim is simply nonsense. Mars looked like a bright, reddish tinged star in the night sky.
Unfortunately, messages about the genuine 2003 close approach have become more and more exaggerated and inaccurate as they circulated around the Internet year after year. And various pranksters have “enhanced” these misleading messages by adding photoshopped images that supposedly show Mars and the Moon appearing as large as each other in the sky.
If you missed seeing the recent Mars close approach, don’t worry! Another close approach will occur in October 2020. But, rest assured, even then, Mars will not look as large as the moon.
The hoax message claims that “no one alive today has ever witnessed this happening”. That is perfectly true. Nobody has ever witnessed such an event because it has never happened nor will it ever do so.
An example of the hoax message:
12:30 Aug 27th you will see two moons in the sky, but only one will be the moon. The other will be Mars. It won’t happen again until 2287. No one alive today has ever witnessed this happening.