No, Mars Won’t Be As Big As The Moon Tonight

There’s a “viral” article going around on Facebook that says the planet Mars will be seen as large as the moon tonight, which is utter nonsense.

By DAVID on July 26, 2018
(Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

There’s an article going around on Facebook the past couple days. The article explains that’s it’s a once-every-35,000 year event, and you don’t want to miss it.

False. There is no cosmic event that brings any planets close enough to us to be the size of our moon. The article starts off with this paragraph:

Two moons in the sky on July 27! The next time this cosmic event will happen again, will be 36,996 ……Share this information as much as possible with your friends because NO human being alive today will be able to behold this incredible phenomenon a second time.

They key here is that they’re asking you to share the article “as much as possible.” Technically that’s what were also doing, but we’re debunking it. This is a tactic that people will use to get their information out, no matter fact or fiction, so they get clicks, reactions, and ad revenue. Ok, that rant is over.

There’s another kicker that had us laughing though. They say that apparently the planet Jupiter is partially to credit for this Mars/Moon event. They used some really awesome wording to make it sound all scientific and convincing, too.

…the elliptical orbit of the giant Jupiter has a complex apochromatic altazimutal velocity for which the cyclo-parabolic projection (adjusted Lambert benchmark) is affected by a singular analemmic anomaly modifying the apside line

That whole spiel, according to this website, is a “fundamentally nonsense sentence.” Agreed. Yes, Mars will be at it’s closest point to our own Earth tonight, since planets travel on a elliptical orbit rather than perfectly round. However, it’s not going to be anywhere near close enough to even notice a slight change in size from normal. If you really want to see Mars, you can. When you’re looking at the moon tonight, look just below and to the right. You’ll see a bright star; that’s Mars. You might even be able to see a slight tint of red. But it’s not going to be anywhere near as large as the moon. It’ll look like just another star in the sky.

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