Claim: The planet Mars will make a once-in-our-lifetimes, remarkably close approach to Earth on
SEE MARS AS LARGE AS THE FULL MOON ON
Origins: Some things never go out of style, and this "Mars Spectacular" message is one of them. It's yet another example of a widely-circulated e-mail containing information that was once true but which continues to be forwarded around year after year, long after the information it contains has become outdated.
Mars did make an extraordinarily close approach to Earth over ten years ago, culminating on
Although Mars' proximity to Earth in
Mars had another close encounter with Earth in 2005, but that occurrence took place in October (not August), and the red planet appeared about 20% smaller than it did during similar circumstances in 2003. Mars also made a close approach to Earth in
Texas astronomer Torvald Hessel observed the following in a 2006 interview about the perennial "Mars Spectacular" message:
A: Mars gets close to Earth every two years. So, last year, Mars was very close. Three years ago, it was spectacularly
Q: How wide spread is this falsehood?
A: People get excited about it, start to send
It informs recipients that Mars will have an extremely close encounter with Earth during the month of August, culminating on August 27th when Mars is approximately 34 million miles away. The information in the previous sentence was only true during the month of August in 2003. This was a historic astronomical event. Mars was the closest it had been to Earth in 60,000 years. However, this already happened.
| Beware the Mars Hoax
| Mars at Its All-Time Finest
(Sky & Telescope)
| Approaching Mars (2003)
Last updated: 4 August 2015
Britt, Robert Roy. "Orbital Oddities: Why Mars Will Be So Close to Earth in August." space.com. 21 January 2003. MacRobert, Alan. "The August Mars Hoax Is Back." Sky & Telescope. 25 July 2007. Rao, Joe. "Mars to Get Closer Than Ever in Recorded History in 2003." space.com. 8 November 2002. Sinnott, Roger W. "A Mars Record for the Ages." Sky & Telescope. Troiani, Daniel M. "Mars at Its All-Time Finest." Sky & Telescope. 3 August 2005. News 8 Austin. "Mars Isn't Getting Close." 17 August 2006.