Mars to appear as large as the Moon? Don't believe the claim - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Mars to appear as large as the Moon?: Don't believe the "Out of this World" claim

By Andrew Freiden - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The red planet is about to be spectacular, as large as the full moon! That's what the email says that's making the rounds but don't get too excited just yet:

"If Mars appeared in the sky as big as the moon, it would only be only 1/2 a million miles away.  Basically it would be an end of the world situation," said David Hagan, scientist at the Science Museum of Virginia.

David Hagan says thankfully it's all one big hoax. Like most, it's based in truth. In August of 2003 Mars did come close to the Earth. That's when the emails started, but even then, it still just looked like a red star. 

"It was still more than 30 million miles away, a tiny dot in the sky. Not as big as the moon," he said.

And if we all did wake up and see Mars as large as the moon one day that would mean it somehow got very close to us, very quickly! The results would be crazy!

"Tides, volcanoes, all kinds of geological events. It's all utter nonsense and someone is just having a good time!" Hagan said.

But as far as good times go, Hagan says the one contained in this email is relatively harmless. In fact, he doesn't even mind the phone calls. Anything that gets the public thinking about science is good with him. And there doesn't appear to be a real downside to the email only that people will be disappointed!

"Someone going out and looking at the night sky is not a major catastrophe," said Hagan.

So if you get the email, take it as a great opportunity to get outside and stare at the night sky. You'll at least see plenty of stars, and maybe a planet or two, and if one of those planets looks as big as the moon, please send me an email!

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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