Mars is not approaching this August

Mars is not approaching this August

Published by Nick Lomb on July 24, 2006 Comments Off

Mars 27 August 2003_Hubble Space Telescope

There is an email circulating in cyberspace saying that the red planet Mars will be exceptionally close on 27 August (2006). According to one version “It will look like the Earth has two moons”!!!

Once again this is a good lesson in not believing everything on the Internet. The email is a hoax describing in a somewhat exaggerated fashion the events of 2003. On 27 August 2003 Mars was only 55.8 million kilometres away which is almost the closest possible distance it can be from Earth. To the unaided eye it looked like a shining red beacon while through a telescope a small red disc could be seen with some dark features visible. Above is a great picture of the planet by the Hubble Space Telescope taken on 27 August 2003.

In late August this year (2006) Mars is faint and just visible after sunset low in the western sky.

No Responses to “Mars is not approaching this August”

  1. September 17, 2008 at 12:52 pm, » Spaced-out Sunday :: scribbles :: said:

    [...] Earth yesterday, August 26, 2006, and can be seen by the naked eye like a second moon. Yes, it was another cyber-hoax. Oh and the news about Pluto not being a planet anymore ("Pluto Gets The [...]

  2. October 18, 2007 at 12:16 pm, Engaging with Social Media in Museums « Libodyssey said:

    [...] Russo used this entry from the Sydney Observatory Blog as an example of how this might be beneficial in an educational [...]

  3. August 17, 2007 at 7:06 am, Mars said:

    [...] with Mars on August 27 – Netlore Archive Urban Legends Reference Pages: Mars Close to Earth Mars is not approaching this August at Sydney Observatory – news and views on astronomy from Sydney I got the e-mail a while ago, and looked it up to see if it were true, and as seen above, it is [...]

  4. July 09, 2007 at 12:03 pm, The dreaded Mars hoax returns at Sydney Observatory - news and views on astronomy from Sydney said:

    [...] This is the return of the dreaded Mars hoax email that seems to recur each year around this time. See last year’s discussion on this blog. As explained last year the email is a twisted description of the Mars opposition of 2003 when Mars certainly was impressively a bright red point of light in the sky and surface detils could be discerned through a telescope. However, it certainly was not a second Moon in appearance! [...]

  5. August 30, 2006 at 12:16 pm, Lucy said:

    Very Interesting!
    My partner has been talking about it for days now to everyone we know as so many people have told him Mars is coming and even claimed to have seen an article in the herald.
    Always a good idea to check your facts with a reliable source I say to avoid chinese whispers getting out of control.

  6. August 29, 2006 at 7:24 pm, Toner said:

    On August 28 we had a few visitors arrive at Sydney Observatory eager to see the red planet. Unfortunately we were not able to show them Mars, however, they did get a very good view of Jupiter and its moons.

  7. August 29, 2006 at 7:02 am, Jeremy said:

    Wow me and a bunch of buddies went to an open field drank some beers and waited for mars to show its face but no dice…Oh well still got to have some beers i was excited to see mars but what ever

  8. August 28, 2006 at 9:33 pm, Victor said:

    Well… I actually took a drive to have a look as I could not find mars and even more scary… no moon as well…

  9. August 28, 2006 at 8:31 pm, Kassie said:

    well, well, I must be blonde.. I stayed up to watch ‘the red planet’ and I was going to wake my kids so they wouldn’t miss out. But luckily for bad weather, we decided not to go out and wake the kids. I jumped on the net tonight when I got home, as I have not heard a thing about it today. I came accross “this” website and yep well you know the rest. !!!I’M BLONDE!!!

  10. August 28, 2006 at 6:07 pm, Gullible Doris said:

    Hey, they announced this on a radio in NZ about a month ago. I was gullible and told my best mate. She and I didn’t see anything and decided it was a hoax. We had a giggle about it all day today. Next time I’ll check it out.

  11. August 28, 2006 at 5:21 pm, ze men [liam and james] said:


  12. August 28, 2006 at 5:13 pm, mano said:


    and i was soo happy.


  13. August 28, 2006 at 3:55 pm, jeffnjul said:

    well,,, just got home from the stadium after awakening my 7 and 2 yr old to see the cool planet of mars,,, it was great! long drive, and not even a moon out. the sad news is that our local newspaper even was hoaxed,
    hoaxed in tx.

  14. August 28, 2006 at 1:37 pm, Scott said:

    I am sure glad i read about this now!! Me and my friends stayed up to look at mars and we stood out in the field for about an hour. I told like 100 people. O well, a good story it will be. Thanks for the info about it. Scott – North Carolina State University, Raleigh NC, USA

  15. August 28, 2006 at 11:37 am, Leigh said:

    Well thought it was strange there was nothing in the news or on any astrology websites – they normally write these things up so had a thought to look up if Sydney Observatory had any info and there you go. Should have guessed this was a hoax as hasn’t Mars only recently been visible to the naked eye – i.e. around 2003?

  16. August 28, 2006 at 9:40 am, darth cheddar said:

    ha ha my teacher yhtinks it real she showed my class tyhe powerpoint

  17. August 28, 2006 at 9:37 am, Abbie said:

    My kids came home from school and told me all about this,,they were sooooo excited. This email was actually circulated around in May last year too….and it seemed familiar so I checked the www as we do !…. My childrens TEACHER was the informant in this case,,tut tut !!

  18. August 28, 2006 at 8:36 am, Mony said:

    Good thing I decided to do some reasearch today before I stayed up to experienced something that no one else will in a thousand years. Thanks for putting the right facts out here. I have learned my lesson, Don’t believe everything you read!!! Do the Reasearch!!! Thanks. :) :)!!!

  19. August 28, 2006 at 7:13 am, Cazlin said:

    I received dis email on 26 JULY 2006 n looked forward to dis spectacular event, witch it WOULD hav been. Round 22:30pm looking into da sky to check out da progress. No sign of neither moon nor mars. Then googled “MOON & MARS” n found out it is all a hoax????

    Tanx 4 da correct info


  20. August 28, 2006 at 2:17 am, sureshkumar said:

    Will we alive to see the next encounter of Mars and Earth ?
    or will we alive to receive such hoax mail again ?

  21. August 28, 2006 at 1:31 am, Roni said:

    OMG! I really thought the email was true cuz i got it from my aunt. Thanks for telling me its not cuz now i wont stay up until midnight looking for it!

  22. August 28, 2006 at 1:02 am, Ben said:

    Man, my friend is sms-ing bout tis. but anyway, no matter how it comes, still i can’t see it cause Cameron Highlands got a rainy day…

  23. August 27, 2006 at 11:37 pm, Mariana and Tim said:

    We especially got up to watch this!!!! My lovely boyfriend went downstairs to make me a cup of tea whilst I searched for extra info!!!! What a fool I feel!! I’ve told everyone I know :( Quite funny though!!Thanks for the truth!!

  24. August 27, 2006 at 11:23 pm, Linda said:

    I got the email about a month ago, and delighted in sharing it with my boss, my good friends, my children and their teachers…etc. I just got home after driving around for one hour in the car looking for Mars!!! I feel so stupid. My husband can’t stop laughing. Tomorrow I will feel so embarassed when my boss,my friends, teachers and colleagues at work give me a hard time….they will have stayed up until midnight trying to find this moon sized “brightest” light in the sky tonight.Gullible.

  25. August 27, 2006 at 9:25 pm, Amy said:

    I still can’t believe I fell for it! I got the e-mail from several people early in August and I spread it around the office, my family, my uni mates etc.

    My dad and I were just having dinner and we were like oh my god have we missed it?? (just remembering the date) and rushed outside, so I came online to check what the date was and found this site! WOw, I really must be gullible

  26. August 27, 2006 at 9:24 pm, David said:

    Thanks for explaining this so clearly. My 6 year old is still awake at 9.20pm waiting up to see Mars between 10pm and 3am. Tom came home from school on Friday excited about the coming event. I thought it sounded too good to be true, punched it into Google ten minutes ago, showed him your site, and he’s on his way to bed!! Thanks.

  27. August 27, 2006 at 9:17 pm, Akhlaque Ahmad said:

    I was very excited when I read the mail describing that two moons will be seen from the earth. I was planning how to see this magnificient panoramatic view from the earth. But when I searched the web to find out the exact time for the view I was totally shocked and annoyed that someone has made me fool.
    Now I am very superessed not having this historical view.

  28. August 27, 2006 at 9:17 pm, SweetBow said:

    Well bugger me!!! We were driving home from dinner and someone mentioned the date. I said ‘that Mars thing is happening tonight’ We looked at the moon and just laughed. Got home opened the email and looked at it again then decided to ‘google’. I’ve had such a good laugh at all the comments. Someone must have been really bored to come up with that!

  29. August 27, 2006 at 9:12 pm, kate said:

    our friend sent us this email 2 months before it would happen and it had already happened 3 years ago how disapointing

  30. August 27, 2006 at 8:36 pm, Aliyah Chelsey said:

    O M G I cant believe I was so sucked in Someone posted it on freecycle and I was so excited my sister even set her alarm and called to remind me, me and my Bf got up, got dressed went out for a walk to see if we could see the two moons and couldn’t find 1 let alone two well it will teach us a lesson not to be so gullable!!!!

  31. August 27, 2006 at 8:24 pm, Erin and James said:

    James was just getting his warm slippers on and preparing himself for a late night staring at the sky – thanks for saving us the trouble. His Mum is obviously easily fooled…

  32. August 27, 2006 at 8:06 pm, Ali said:

    Well, after scanning the night skies for two nights running, do I feel like a fool! I even had my son out there with me to help me look for it! Ah well, just goes to show how gullible I am. My son told me to look up the Observatory on the net and see what they have to say. Glad I did, it will save me a lot of neck craning tonight. (I thought it was a bit strange that there hadn’t been any news coverage of the event.) Thanks for debunking the myth.

  33. August 27, 2006 at 6:10 pm, Drew said:


  34. August 27, 2006 at 6:07 pm, jeff said:

    wot a sucker 27th of august an no show of mars. bummer. that will learn me for being so gullible

  35. August 27, 2006 at 5:47 pm, Louisa said:

    I completely believed it!! Too gullible! Woah I’m so annoyed now, I was getting reading to go somewhere nice tonight and watch it with everyone! So bad!! :(

  36. August 27, 2006 at 4:44 pm, Aravind said:

    I had planned to visit sky tonight and forwarded mail received from my one friend to number of my friends. But I was wondering that why there is not a single news in media about this. So I googled and found this website. Thanks.. always should not believe you get through mail.

  37. August 27, 2006 at 3:09 pm, EDvARD mUNCH said:

    Pish Posh!

    When I first read that Mars was a sham I spilled my royal tea onto my scone! Now with a bloody soggy scone I must sit here in utter disbelief. What a monstrocity! Better luck next go around.

    Tally ho!
    -BUZZ the duke of LA

  38. August 27, 2006 at 2:47 pm, corona said:

    hmmm, This really blows. I got all excited. I was freaking ready to see mars for the first time.:) Well….. then i found out it was a hoax and jesus b golly im sick of internet lies,IMASDJKFHAKET89 over. danny j

  39. August 27, 2006 at 1:40 pm, AMYnDAllAS said:

    I fell for it , but to my credit I found out about this amazing event though a flyer my first graders teacher sent home. So I told my whole family and church family and all my friends. Maybe you can’t believe everything your child’s teacher sends home either. My kids were all excited and even took a nap. We just got back from walmart were we bought a telescope. And on the drive home I didn’t see a moon. And my know it all 12 year old told me “mom it’s a New moon. So I came and googled the date and mars and found these site .GREAT!!!!!! So I guess the saying believe half of what you see and none of what you hear holds true in this case.



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