It's that time of year again. "The Red Planet Is About To Be Spectacular" is the title of the email that roams the Internet usually in August. The email shows a picture with Mars and the Moon being the same size, top picture above , when in reality the bottom of the two pictures above is how they actually compare in size. For Mars to appear the same size as the Moon it would have to be 90 times closer then it is. It all started when back in August of 2003, Mars was actually the closest to Earth it had ever been, 35 million miles. Every 2.25 years the elliptical orbit of Mars is at its closest point to Earth, in December of this year Mars will come within 55 million miles of Earth, by the way Mars furthest point from Earth is 154 million miles.
Every year since 2004 I have been forwarded this email from someone I know asking if I will be taking pictures or at the very least looking at it with my telescope, and I always end up bursting their bubble by boring them with the truth, which always ends up with them sending out another email stating never mind about the first email it is a hoax. The first year it happened a friend of mine mentioned his sister had sent him an email about Mars being as big as the Moon. Rushing to his computer to view the email; well you know how your brain and experience tell you one thing but you still hang on to something ridiculous? that's how I felt the first time I viewed the "Mars Spectacular" email, I finally came back to reality and explained why it was just totally wrong, his sister sent out another email stating the first was a hoax and all was well. The only mention so far this year has been a friend's friend in Ontario has gotten the email, so beware its out there.