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Mars Hoax: Will Mars Really Appear as Large as The Moon? Read more: http://www.third

Aug 10, 2010
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well apparently whatever was going on the internet i obviously didn't hear about it. and im always on the internet at work... like right now lol soo heres the scoop about the b.s. of mars appearing as huge as the moon.

Mars hoax got your ear? The fact is, Mars will simply not be as large in the skies as the hoax rumors may have led you to believe. So, if you're planning to watch the skies Friday to see Mars rise and appear as large as the moon, astronomers promise you will be disappointed. "That never happens. Mars is never that close to us," said Dr. Tom Pannuti, assistant professor of space science at Morehead State University.

Pannuti said reports Mars will soon be closer to Earth than at any other point in our lives and suddenly seem massive in the night sky began circulating a few years ago and manage to crop back up every three to four years.

"The last time I heard of it, I was in California," Pannuti said, explaining he was dating an English major who was extremely excited about seeing Mars as large as the moon and had to explain she would never see such a sight.

"She blamed me," he said with a chuckle.

In reality, Pannuti said such a close encounter with the Red Planet wouldn't be particularly enjoyable on this planet.

"If it was that close the effect of its gravity would be significant," he said, stopping short of predicting cosmic catastrophe for mankind, although hinting that would be the end result.

Those looking to the night sky at this time will, however, find a remarkable sight.

"There is a line of Mars, Saturn and Venus right now at twilight -- about 30 minutes after sunset," Pannuti said.

"Venus will be the brightest of the group," he said, advising skygazers to look low in the southwest sky 30 minutes after the sun goes down. Mars, with its signature red hue, will be to the left of Venus, while Saturn will be observed to the right of the smaller but brighter celestial body.

At the moment, Pannuti said there is even a treat for early risers.

"Jupiter is a morning object right now and it is getting brighter," he said. "It's a busy sky right now."

The astronomer gives his personal endorsement to the skymaps.com website as an outstanding source of information for those interested in knowing more about what they are seeing when they look up at night, noting it provides easy-to-understand guides and calendars along with a wealth of additional information and data.

While he can't claim any appreciation for the return of the Mars-as-big-as-the-moon hoax, Pannuti said he understands why people embrace such stories.

"Everyone has an interest in the sky. It still surprises us and shows us what we're made of. It's a natural show," he said, citing the amount of interest generated by a rash of comets during the late 1990s. "We still crave to know where we really are in the universe."

Read more: Mars Hoax: Will Mars Really Appear as Large as The Moon? | ThirdAge
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