The Cyber-Myth That Just Won’t Die: See Mars as Large as a Full Moon!!!
by David Dickinson on August 27, 2013
It’s hard to believe that it’s been with us for a decade now.
Ten years ago this week, the planet Mars reached made an exceptionally close pass of the planet Earth. This occurred on August 27th, 2003, when Mars was only 56 million kilometres from our fair planet and shined at magnitude -2.9.
Such an event is known as opposition. This occurs when a planet with an orbit exterior to our own reaches a point opposite to the Sun in the sky, and rises as the Sun sets. In the case of Mars, this occurs about every 2.13 years.
But another myth arose in 2003, one that now makes its return every August, whether Mars does or not.You’ve no doubt gotten the chain mail from a well-meaning friend/relative/coworker back in the bygone days a decade ago, back before the advent social media when spam was still sorta hip. “Mars to appear as large as the Full Moon!!!” it breathlessly exclaimed. “A once in a lifetime event!!!”
Though a little over the top, the original version did at least explain (towards the end) that Mars would indeed look glorious on the night of August 27th, 2003 … through a telescope.
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