Hyderabad: Donita Booher, who shared a doctored image of two moons, alleged that Mars appears to be as big as the moon. The post is being circulated on Facebook. This post has received over 14,000 reactions and notched 5,85,000 shares.
“On Aug 27 at 12:30 you will see two moons in the sky, but only one will be the moon. The other will be Mars. It won’t happen again until 2287. No one alive today has ever witnessed this happening,” the caption reads.
Archived link of the claim can be found here.
This is a long-standing false allegation that was first debunked by Snopes fact check-in 2003. The same image is now being circulated on Facebook. Hence, the claim is FALSE.
By reverse image search, we found out that NBC reported the image of the claim appeared in 2009 on a Russian site called ‘Dream Worlds’, as part of a gallery of fanciful double-moon photos.
The claim goes back to a 2003 email commonly known as the “Mars Hoax” or “Mars Spectacular”. The message initially contained accurate information, aimed to inform recipients about an authentic extreme close encounter between Mars and Earth that would culminate on Aug 27, 2003, an event known as “perihelic opposition”.
On that day, Mars and Earth were 35 million miles (or 56 million kilometers) of each other, which was the closest the planets had been in 60,000 years, and the closest the two planets will be until Aug 28, 2287.
At that time, Mars appeared to be six times bigger and 85 times brighter in the sky than it ordinarily does only to those viewing Mars through a telescope with 75-power magnification. Readers often mistook that Mars would “look as large as the full moon to the naked eye” without realizing that that statement.
This detail about magnification, later on, was removed in further iterations of the message.
Hence, the claim is FALSE.