Every year in the month of August, a news hoax about the appearance of Two Moons goes viral. Since 2003, a bevy of emails are being forwarded, suggesting that on Aug. 27, planet Mars would be as big as the moon and would be visible to the naked eye. However, scientists have requested people not to forward such emails as there is little or no truth to it, according to reports by Christian Post.
The Two Moons hoax email reads as follows:
"This day Mars will be 34.65 million miles away from earth. On this day, do not forget to see this at 12.30 nights. Because you will see two moons in the sky. This event will happen again in the year 2287. Please share this with all. Because those who are living now cannot see it second time in the year 2287," as quoted by Times of India.
NASA has debunked such rumours in the past. However, there are people who still believe that Mars would be as close to the Earth as the moon, and both Mars and the moon would appear of the same size.
Twitter has exploded with reactions on the Two Moons Hoax. Here are a few tweets:
Do people not realize the two moon hoax thing has been out every year?
— ♋ Jeshie ♌ (@anat0mical) August 26, 2014
People are watching two men in their underpants hitting each other again. They've put it on the telly. That moon landing was surely a hoax.
— Rob Allen (@northernrob) May 25, 2013
Suddenly a lot of people on FB posting about getting up to view "two moons" - mars & moon together & equal in size. It's a hoax folks!
— twilightfairy (@twilightfairy) August 27, 2014
Further playing down the hoax, Arvind Paranjpye, director of Nehru Planetarium, told the website, "After every 26 months (2 years and 2 months) the Earth overtakes Mars. At that time the two planets are closest to each other. The orbits of the planets are elliptical and not circular. The closest distance between the planets, therefore, keeps changing. It ranges from about 54.6 million km to 401 million km. But, even at the closest distance looking at Mars will be like looking at a cricket ball kept 6 km away. So in no way it will look as big as a moon."
The Two Moons hoax reports are further amped by a photo circulating on Facebook. According to popular science website EarthSky, the photo is just a hoax and it may look amazing, but it's not true. The photo, which has gone viral, shows Mars and the moon shining brightly atop a building.
However, scientifically, this phenomenon does not exist and could never happen, according to Science.