Moon and Mars August 2010: The Truth Behind Mars as Another Moon on August 27– There has been a lot of controversy about two moons occurring in the sky today, August 27, 2010 of which Mars is considered as the “other moon” aside from the natural moon that we usually see here on Earth.
The rumor started through an email circulated way back in 2003 where Mars indeed make an extraordinary approach to our planet Earth to just approximately 56 millions kilometers which prompted the red planet to appear as another moon in the sky as seen in the photo below:
One of the emails that circulated at that time reads as follows:
“The Red Planet Mars is about to be spectacular as it can be seen in the sky. Earth and Mars will be at its closest in 60,000 years. The next time Mars may come this close may be after several years in the year 2287. The encounter between Earth and Mars will culminate on August 27 when the red planet comes to within 34,649,589 miles of Earth and will be next to the moon the brightest object in the sky at night. It will have a magnitude of -2.9 and will appear 25.11 arc seconds wide. In its 75-power magnification, Mars will look as large as the full moon through the naked eye.
By August 27 where both planets will be closest to each other, Mars will rise at nightfall and will reach its highest point in the sky at 12:30 am. As such, we will be able to see two moons in the sky – one is the actual moon and the other is the red planet Mars. Mark your calendars to see Mars as the second moon in the sky. This is a rare opportunity as no one alive today will ever witness the second event when this happens again.”
Apparently, that was an old email back in August 2003. If ever you received it again today with a date of the occurence changed today, August 27, 2010, delete it since it’s just a hoax. In fact, NASA reported that there is no such two moons that will occur in the sky today, August 27, 2010. This rumor, as stated, started in 2003 and has since reoccurred at the end of August every year since. NASA even stated that at the sunset today, go outside and face west. The bright light you see shining through the twilight is lovely Venus. Grab a pair of binoculars and scan the sky around Venus. A few degrees to the right, you’ll come across a little orange star-like object. That is the red planet Mars.
After that phenomenal event last August 2003, Mars had another close encounter with Earth in the year 2005. However, that event took place in October and not in August. It also did a close approach in December 2007 but not as close as what happened way back in August 27, 2003. According to astronomers, not until 2018 will our view of Mars be similar to the one that was available in 2003 and it won’t be until 2287 will Mars come closer to Earth than it did back in 2003.