Thursday, June 4, 2009

Debunking "Mars Big as the Moon in the Sky!" Email Spam!

Philip Plait at The Amazing Meeting on January...Image via Wikipedia

The excellent Bad Astronomy blog in Discover magazine posts this week about the notorious email spam that asserts (from time to time) that Mars is coming so close to the Earth in its orbit that later this year it will "appear" to be as big as the Moon appears.

Yes; as big-seeming as the Moon seems in the sky. That would be something!

If it were true. But it's not even close to being true.

As astronomer Phil Plait explains in his blog, "I tire of debunking this every freaking year, so just read this post from last year, or from 2007, or 2006, or 2005, or 2003, when this evil viral thing got started by someone who I hope is now covered with a copious slathering of honey and ensconced in the ground near a fire ant mound, preferably surrounded by quicksand, a tar pit, and a bunch of TV sets all tuned to the Oprah show."

Geez, he's been countering this thing for five years. And it won't die.

Pity the rationalist.

This diagram shows the approximate relative si...Image via Wikipedia

He also mentions the amusing series going on in the comic strip NonSequitur on the same subject....
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