The idea that it will look like there is a double Full Moon this week on the August 27 because Mars is passing so close to Earth that it appears the same size as the Moon in the night sky, is complete lunacy.
This is a story – usually accompanied by a photo like the one here that I really hesitated to spread around again – that has had a very healthy life on social media and even earlier via email since the turn of the century.
It really gained power in 2003 when Mars did pass within 35 million miles of Earth on Aug. 27 of that year. Yes, that was its closest approach to our planet in nearly 60,000 years. But even though Mars appeared six times bigger and 85 times brighter in the night sky than it normally does, it was nowhere near the size of the Moon. It still looked like the reddish star.
If you have time to waste and search “double moon,” you’ll get lots of results. Facebook, the main vector of misinformation these days, has over a million shares on the hoax. There may be a nice Full Moon to see in your night sky this week, but nothing more captivating about it than the monthly wonder of seeing it up there.