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The Martian Hoax

Added Sun, 27/08/2023
Дата публикации
Sun, 27/08/2023

On this day, 20 years ago, Mars and Earth have come as close to each other as ever in the last 60,000 years.

The two planets were approximately 34,646,000 miles apart on August 27, 2003. The last time they were so close was on September 24, 57617 BC, when the distance between them was only 34,622,000 miles.

And it was during this period in 2003 that an e-mail hoax about Mars began to spread for the first time.

Unlike some hoaxes, this was a harmless statement, but it is a hoax that keeps repeating itself again.

The email that went viral said that with the naked eye Mars will look as big as the full moon.

It is believed that misinformation began to spread after an innocent interpretation of an email written about this event.

Experts agree that most of the contents of the original letter were correct. (Only the claim that such a convergence might not happen again for the next 60,000 years was erroneous, since the next case would occur in 2287.)

But there was also a sentence in the email that said:

"At a modest magnification of 75 times, Mars will look as big as the full Moon to the naked eye."

Some people misinterpreted this because they didn't pay attention to the first part of the sentence. In fact, this meant that if you magnify Mars 75 times when it is at the nearest point, only then it will turn out to be the same size as the Moon.

In fact, if the people spreading this false information thought about it for a moment, they would realize how ridiculous it is to assume that Mars will ever be the size of a full moon.

After all, for us it's just a point in the sky–even if it's at the point closest to Earth–and you don't need to be a fanatical scientist to know that.

But that hasn't stopped similar claims from popping up every couple of years or so when Earth and Mars get a little closer together–and no doubt it will continue to do so.

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