Monday, June 8, 2009

Cloudy Moon and The Mars Hoax...Once Again


I was just sitting on my deck a few days ago admiring the Moon when a thin layer of clouds crossed it's path, I used the binoculars to see the effect they were having on it, and it looked beautiful.


Thought great, got my camera out, took some images but something got lost in the translation. So I noticed the Moon was going to be coming into view of my telescope sight in about 20 minutes, thought to myself, I got to try and translate what I am seeing into a picture, maybe the scope can do it. Clouds in just the right amount can add so much to the character of the Moon, acting like a filter they can actually bring out more detail and add mystery to it.



Opened up my POD, (Personal Observatory Dome), got everything set up but the clouds disappeared, this was actually a good thing, gave me time to focus on the Moon, image below, it is so hard to get a tight focus when clouds are in the way.



From this point on it was hurry up and wait, I just kind of hung out in my POD for almost an hour till the clouds finally came back, just in time, I did not want to loose the daylight, the daylight was a big part of what I was seeing, I love a daytime Moon, so pretty.

Eventually some more clouds crossed the Moon's path once again, and what you are seeing in these images are the results of a cloudy daytime Gibbous Moon, (gibbous meaning the Moon being more then half illuminated), I thought they turned out pretty good, a good representation of what I saw that night.



Heads up, the good old Mars Hoax is going around again. I have had plenty of emails already this year, even one from one of the directors of the company I work for about the validity of an email going around stating that in August, Mars, being so close to Earth will look to be the same size as our Moon, not true!!



This hoax started when back in August of 2003 Mars orbit put it only 56 million km from Earth, the closest it had ever been in recorded history. Somebody thought it would be neat to start a rumor stating that because Mars was so close to the Earth it would look the same size as the Moon.

It mixes truth and fantasy. True, back in August 2003 Mars was closest it had ever been to Earth, also true it wouldn't be this close to us again till 2287, but not true about Mars being the same size as the Moon.

I remember the first time I encountered this hoax, a friend of mine, after reading the email back in July of 2004 called me to ask if I would take an image of Mars for him seeing that it was going to be as big as the Moon, I said sure, no prob......... wait, what'd you say....... better send me a copy of that email.

He then forwarded me the email, a power point presentation. The next time I saw him, I explained that the email was bogus and the reasons, but he gave me the, yeah but it is on the internet, it must be true look. I finally convinced him and gazillions of other people, well at least 5 I can think of off the top of my head, that Mars will never be the same apparent size as the Moon, will this ever end........ probably not.

I took the image below back in December 2007 when Mars was in conjunction with the Moon, it shows the real apparent size comparison, you can see they aren't the same size by any stretch of the imagination.


I'll leave you now with another Milky Way animation.

61 comments:

Moonshadow said...

Great moon shots, Bob! Thanks for posting that about Mars. Seems like a friend sent me an email like that and I think I just deleted it. Now I can look for it and send them a link to your page. :)

Swubird said...

Bob:

I guess I'm going to have to call you Moon Man, because in all this time I've been reading your posts, you've proven over and over again that you are without a doubt the Moon Man!

I never heard the one about Mars looking as big as the moon. That's probably a good thing.

I really liked the Mars conjunction picture. It filled my entire twenty-inch screen. Bravo!

Well done, as always.

Happy trails.

Stephanie B said...

I adore cloudy moons. Adore them.

Snopes.com has a nice write-up on that hoax. I got it again this year from my MIL.

Mike said...

Hi Bob. How is everything going? I have not posted comments in a long time. I never get tired of the Moon pictures. Still looks big even though about 4 million football fields away.

Astro-nuts said...

Hey Bob, great shots as always. I'm glad it cleared up enough for you to get those. Every time I looked outside, it was cloudy. Anyway, good post about the Mars hoax too. Good info. Talk to you soon.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Moonshadow, I'm still amazed that it is still going around, you think it would just die, but noooo, it just keeps going and going,lol.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks swubird, good for you not getting the email, most people I know have seen it at least once since 2004, you're one of the lucky ones,lol.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Stephanie and thanks for the link, I'll have to pop over and take a look at their write up.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol Mike, is that what it works out to be, 4,000,000 football fields away, kinda seems closer somehow now,lol, good to hear from you again.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Colin, you know it clouded up for my final Moon shots and it hasn't cleared up since,lol, as you know we have been having terrible weather here, probably because you went and got a new scope which almost always guarantees cloudy skies,lol.\m/\m/

betchai said...

though you missed the clouds, but you've got a crisp image of the moon. i too love looking at the clouds passing over the moon, it makes the moon look so mysterious.

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Beautiful moon shots, Bob. You have me wanting a telescope. What photos you snap!!! The clouds passing over the moon always has me gazing at that orb with the mysterious atmosphere it provides. Makes one think of our Creator.

If Mars came that close, what would happen to us? Would we be affected by it? I bet we would land on it, for sure. :D Perhaps Mars will draw closer when Revelations starts happening. I think you should write a novel!!!

Hugs, JJ

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks betchai, clouds always do so much for the Moon, unfortunately that is all we have had now for the last few days, takes away from the night sky.\m/\m/

Astro-Nuts said...

You know, it's funny you say that, because I took some Moon shots on Thursday night, then bought the telescope Friday, and it all went to hell after that. Hasn't been clear since. Just like me putting the snow brush away three times in May and it snowed the next day each time. Just can't win I guess. I promise, I won't buy any more equipment. That should appease the weather gods. ;)

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks JJ and great question, first off if Mars was really that close to be looking the same size as our Moon, we would have crazy tides, and probably our weather patterns would be screwed up, probably the seasons and who knows what else, lots of conjecture.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol Colin, funny but true, whenever I have got new equipment, the weather never cooperates, may not be scientific, but it happens,lol.\m/\m/

Ivanhoe said...

Oh Bob, the moon shots are just amazing. Quite mysterious looking indeed.
I did not get the hoax e-mail yet and I sure hope I'd known better if I saw it... Worse case I'd contact my astrostuff specialist ;o)

andrew said...

Hi Bob,I am back on the air.My pc was struck by lightning and my iternet connection was dialup.I now have a new Pc and highspeed so,I will be visiting your blog on a regular basis now.My old connection speed was only 24kbs.Now I am at 3mbs....yay!!!

Ruth said...

Wow, you are very scientific, I'm impressed. It reminds me of how sometimes the moon looks HUGE - bigger than normal - but as you've told us, it only looks that way.

Those moon shots are remarkable, as always! I agree with Swubird, I'll call you Moon Man too.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Ivanhoe, you'd be surprised how many people, who don't read this blog of course, didn't know the Mars size thing wasn't true, some people, before they talk to me of course didn't know our Sun is a star.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Wow, lots of speed , welcome to the 21st century Andrew,lol, good to hear from you again.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks from the Moon Man Ruth,lol.\m/\m/

AngelBaby said...

I loved the pictures - so cool. I am just mesmerized by the moon. It is so beautiful.

Thank you for letting me know about the mars hoax, it would be embarrassing to leave a comment on here about it being true and being a blond I probably would have believed it. LOL!

Love and Blessings,
AngelBaby

Marvin the Martian said...

Nice cloud pix! Looks like a poster.

Yes, the whole "close Mars" thing makes me laugh. If Mars was THAT close, Earth would be a cheap vacation spot for Martians, like Cuba.

The Uneasy Supplicant said...

Great shots Bob! You and Anna are the only two I know who have a unique gift of taking great shots of the moon in any weather!
Sorry I haven't been around much. Busted my ankle and have been sulking :-(
Will try to be more proactive.
These moon shots of yours have given me another idea for a story...hmmm interesting concept that I'm conjuring up my dear Boba...interesting.
Talk to you later my friend.
~JD

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, AngelBaby, glad you like the Moon shots, hey a lot of people think it's true, and not knowing much about our solar system why not.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol Marvin, my daughter and husband are going to Cuba for their Honeymoon.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks JD and good luck with your ankle, that's gotta hurt. Now you've got me excited about your story, can't wait.\m/\m/

Stephanie B said...

Hey, Bob, I have an update on my moon hoax answer on Ask Me Anything.

Stacie said...

These are fantastic pictures. Well now I am disappointed that the Moon and Mars was a hoax. Glad I found out now rather then being disappointed later.

Bob Johnson said...

Great Stephanie, I'll be right over.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Hi Stacie, that would have been cool, except for all the tragedies that would have befallen us if it really was that close, and thanks for dropping by.\m/\m/

Dr. Lauren said...

Wonderful shots as always Bob. Awe yes, the Mars hoax. It comes around once a year like a holiday.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Dr. Lauren, yes it does, it now has a life of it's own, must be on autosend,lol.\m/\m/

kRiZ cPEc said...

Nice shots! And like Swubird said, you should be called moon bob!

Will said...

Yeah the old Mars email. It comes around just about as often as that one about the powers that be opening up all our cell phone numbers to the telemarketers.

I did hear something from a reputable source that surprised me. Namely that once in a while Mercury is the closest planet to Earth. No explanation, but it must be because of an elliptical orbit?

Bob Johnson said...

Lol, thanks kRiZ cPEc.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol Will about the telemarketers and cell phones. Mercury does have a highly elliptical orbit and is closest to us when it is on this side of the Sun facing us, what they call inferior conjunction, about 48 million miles, on the other side of the Sun, around 138 million miles away from us.\m/\m/

Astro-Nuts said...

Hey Bob. I finally got some new Moon pics on my blog. They turned out okay, but I couldn't focus properly so I think the mirror is not collimated properly. Anyway, they are the first ones through a "real" telescope" so enjoy.

Bob Johnson said...

Hey Colin congratulations on some fine images.\m/\m/

Dorothy said...

How can something so far away appear to be so close. Fascinating and wonderful to stop by and see what your up too.

Dorothy from grammology
grammology.comm

Mike said...

Hey Bob, Thanks for sharing another great set of photos of the moon. I too have seen the Mars emails floating about - one was sent to me at work by one of my colleagues and they wanted to see about promoting it in the company newsletter.

Final_Transit said...

Hi Bobs, you are a pro at those beautiful moon pics. Hey, Mars is really going to be bigger than moon, its heading towards Earth with the Martians... lol!

Peter said...

Hi! Great shots once again! NOW! There's a story going around here that perhaps one day Mars will come out of its orbit and wipe out the Earth. You seem to have your finger on the pulse when it comes to these type of stories. Any truth to this?

Take Care,
Peter

Bob Johnson said...

Hi Dorothy, it's the magic of the telescope that makes things seem so close, it's good to see you here, thanks for dropping by again.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Mike, good idea about the company newsletter.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Lol and thanks Priyank.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Peter. There is a very remote chance that in a billion years Mars or Venus could crash into Earth.There are a lot of variables involved, my guess is it won't happen before we have killed ourselves off with nuclear weapons,lol.\m/\m/

Cashmere said...

Nice shots, Bob! :)

Anne Vis said...

You are so patient! Fantastic shots and great story about Mars! :-)

Roger said...

Your a great myth buster Bob and a awesome celestial photographer! Thanks for the info my man!

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Cashmere.\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

Hey Thanks Anne!\m/\m/

Bob Johnson said...

No problem and thanks for dropping by Roger.\m/\m/

Anna said...

Hey Bob, sharks the Mars is not going to be big as moon - too bad, lol. Kidding aside your Moon photos are amazing. I love the cloud effect. I have some too, but I never thought that it would look that good. And I guess I told you about Matthew knowing the Moon. Now he knows even better, he sees is before me, lol. I better beef up on my skills, lol, as I got my little competition going. Excellent post Bob as always. Anna :)

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Anna, clouds do so much for the Moon, and hey your little guy is very smart knowing the Moon, very cool.\m/\m/

kml said...

Can't believe anyone actually believed the Mars hoax. It would be something though!

Dreamy moon shots - the soft colors are beautiful!

Bob Johnson said...

Hey Kathy, thanks, believe it or not, people actually fall for it.\m/\m/

sexy legs and body said...

A very interesting site, I also got the mail about Mars and Moon and logic, my logic just would not agree with it, but I thought I will keep an eye on it. Glad to read your explenation.
Colin.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks sexy legs and body!\m/\m/

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