Today is the day Mars isn’t as big as the Moon!

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Aug. 26 2007 10:58 PM

Today is the day Mars isn’t as big as the Moon!

Just like every day isn't.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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I've already debunked this story a zillion times -- every year, it seems, including 2007 -- but I'll put up a reminder now since today is(n't) the day. The story is still around; a friend asked me the other day if there would be "two moons in the sky", and I think this is what she meant. I also did an interview for this for the Orlando Sentinel. If you see more articles on it, link to 'em in the comments! Another example: Emily.

So:

1) Mars is not as big as the Moon in the sky.

2) Mars can never be as big as the Moon in the sky.

3) You need a decent telescope to even see Mars as a disk instead of little orangey ball of light.

4) If Mars looked as big as the Moon, we'd be in for a whole peck of trouble.

5) Mars isn't even close to the Earth in its orbit right now. We're approaching it, like a car on the inside track at a raceway, but it'll be December until we're at our closest. Even then, it'll be tens of millions of miles away.

6) Conclusion: go outside if you want, and enjoy the night sky. Jupiter is nice. But Mars is still a long way off and not much to see.

See you next year. Sigh.

TODAY IN SLATE

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