The Two Moons e-mail hoax is back again. First started in August of 2003, we are now approaching the 7th anniversary of that classic Internet hoax. Every couple of years e-mails get mass forwarded around the Internet proclaiming that Mars will suddenly grow as large as the full moon. Since there is a full moon on August 24 2010, close to the calendar day of the original close encounter with Mars in 2003, the hoax has suddenly re-surfaced. Here is an excerpt of the latest version of the ‘Two Moons’ Hoax.
Two Moons on August 27th 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 of the 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.
NO ONE ALIVE TODAY will ever see it again.
The ‘two moons’ rumor first surfaced in 2003, when Mars made its closest approach to Earth in 60,000 years. Even when Mars made this close approach to earth in 2003, the two planets were still separated by nearly 56 million kilometers.
During those mid summer months, Mars certainly did appear as a bright red star, shimmering more brightly than usual. Original news reports at the time stated when Mars was viewed through a telescope, it would appear as large as the moon. Somehow the important piece of equipment was left off follow up reports, and the next iteration of the story said that the Mars would appear as big as the moon with only the naked eye. The rumor of Mars being as large as the full moon was quickly dispelled by experts.
In 2003, the red planet did shine nearly 80 times brighter in the sky than it normally did. Somehow the idea of the planet shining 80 times brighter than usual also translated into Mars appearing appearing as bright as the Full Moon. Since the original story in 2003, the Mars and Two Moons hoax as resurfaced several times. In October 2005, and again in December 2007. Don’t be surprised if you will see this e-mail hoax pop-up again in 2018, if e-mail is still around, as Mars will be making another close pass to Earth.