Is the Moon Mars Myth Over?

[/caption]Twitter users Kris McCall and Wayne Povey reminded me that it’s August 27th today. Don’t you know what that is? That’s the day all those stupid “Mars is going to look bigger than the Moon” hoax emails go around the internet. We’ll usually get deluged by emails from the recipients, and have to write up a big response explaining itagainand againand again.

But I just realized… I haven’t gotten a single email this year. I totally forgot to mention it in Universe Today.

So that’s it, I’m officially calling this hoax over. You hear me hoaxers and remailers? You’ve lost. People now understand that there’s no possible way that Mars can look bigger in the sky. Your ridiculous hoax is falling on deaf ears. It just took 8 years of non-stop debunking.

Skepticism has won this day.

26 Replies to “Is the Moon Mars Myth Over?”

  1. And Mighty Proud of You are WE!

    Wow Frasier it only took 2922 days, including 2 leap years since it is 8 years, hummm, next year is a leap year, oh my gosh, that’s 2012, dooooms daaaaaay, no wait, that can’t be right… it says here in the fear mongers scare guide that in leap years there will be no untoward hankie panic allowed, saved by those designated years — we are safe from doom that year. Yippie!

    Is there an Eternal September re debunked hoaxes, some cyclic interval? If so we still have that crop to deal with come harvest time. Why can’t we use some better ‘dehoaxer’. something as good as the defoliant used for cotton, to aid in the picking the fact sequence.


    1. You can’t expect human nature to change that rapidly.

      But by setting up cultural precedents you may suppress some of the more ridiculous aspects. Point and laugh!

      It is also good for your mental health, as the tension between what is and what the nutters say is, is not healthy at length.

  2. Wow Frasier it only took 2922 days, including 2 leap years since it is 8 years,

    How much is that in Marsyears?

    1. @the_Siliconopolitan,

      When we speak of Mars years we usually mean years as Mars experiences them, such as the number of sols in a Martian year. If you do indeed mean now long is that in Martian year figures is that interval on Mars, well, see below.

      “In our figures the number of times Phobos orbits Mars for the same interval is mostly meaningless as is the completion ratio of Deimos vs Phobos for orbits within the same interval.” credited to the Leader of the Explication Dr. John Jones aka MMH, the last of the Martians.

      Ares Numerology Insider Miles Standoffish says, “… the usage of these figures gave rise to the importance of adjusting the mandela to Martian Years long ago; in fact, some think the ancient ones who gave us these zodiacal charts were from Mars when it was green and verdant.”

      And Extraordinaire Statistician Mrs. Lumchik says, “When the Mars of yore orbited with and together with the Earth, the peoples of that doomed planet saw the writing on their wall and jumped ship to settle here on this world, colonized by Mars as well, Earth. If they had not had that hope there would not be any connection to our shared souls after all, and as aside, “Who is that man? Doesn’t he know verdant ‘means’ green?”

      Mary -disbelief evident on face-

  3. The Mayan calendar DOES end next year. The only problem (for the doomsday fools) is that a NEW Mayan calendar starts the next day. If they believe that Mars will actually look bigger than a full moon, maybe we can convince them that Pluto is going to start fusing hydrogen and become a red dwarf. Or that governments are going to come together and decalre worldwide peace.

    1. That is arguable.

      – As I understand it there is no such thing as “the” calendar; each Meso-American city state had their own, based on different ancestors and other important events: “Some systems started the count with 1 Imix’, …”

      Though there were some more spread calendars: “The Maya calendar is a system of calendars and almanacs used in the Maya civilization of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica”.

      – The dating will just increment the “b’ak’tun” number of the Long count calendar, which has happened several times before. And that calendar has 4 (!) more rarely used larger periods for astronomical purposes. [See the link.]

      Maybe you didn’t mean that the calendar ends, but that a new print would be in order, as happens for our own calendar each year. Yeah, Surely This Is The End Of The World. (But if you are obsessed with calendars, wouldn’t the web kill your world? No more use for paper calendars, except for the pretty images.)

      1. There are other things which cycle to an end. The Book of Daniel has a cycle of event prophesized according to “days as years.” Depending a bit on how you frame things it can be made to account for various events, such as the life of Jesus, and the whole cycle ends in 1844. There was quite a kafuffle over this then, and some carried additional days to the year 1914 — the Jehovah Witnesses. Now the followers of these prophetic interpretations say the judgment began then, but was not the day of the second coming. More recently there was Rev. Camping near Oakland who said the world would end last May, and I am not sure how he argued that.

        There will be claims of this sort for as long as people are around. There have been repeated cases of apocalyptic movements, where the middle ages saw versions of these things rise up. The appearances of comets of course are a good cause for these things.

        I am not sure why this “giant Mars” thing happens. You would think that people would think that if Mars were appear at the size of the moon tomorrow that today it should also be pretty big. It is not going to show up big on one day. The Earth passes fairly close to Mars about every 18 months, so this is also a regular sequence of events. It has never showed up this big in the past, so why suddenly now.

        These claims most always involve events or ideas of events that are not repeatable, and are often completely extraordinary. This puts them outside the canon of science.


      2. I wonder if there is some evolutionary advantage to this obsession with doomsday events.

        In a similar vain, I remember reading a recent find that linked bipolar disorder and other forms of mental depression with creativity. The researchers argued that these mental thought patterns must have inferred advantages for human society as they were not selected out over time.

        Though I can’t really see why, perhaps something similar is at work with doomsday superstition.

        Maybe I’m off the mark here and it’s just leftover proto-religion era superstitious baggage? Thoughts?

        EDIT: I just don’t understand how someone can picture a sudden massive change in the size of Mars in the night sky and not get a few mental red flags over this.

      3. One has to consider our evolutionary past. When an australopithecine heard a rustle in the grass it is a better evolutionary strategy to react as if a leopard is there than it is to investigate. When people hear a bump in the night they most often react with “who was that?” rather than “what was that?” I also suspect that later in our evolution when we developed language that the evolutionary selection for that was to tell stories. Telling stories is a good way to communicate information. This is particularly the case if that information concerns the local environment and how to live on it. So these stories involved projections of our selves, or our conscious being, onto the world as spirits, totems and gods. The psychology and culture of this continues to exist.

        People well grounded in an established religion tend not to be carried away by these things. I suppose the psychological tendency for this manner of thinking finds an outlet, which can involve these funny ideas. With the relative decline in established religion in the last century people found outlets for similar ways of thinking in a variety of ways. Astrology was pretty popular a few years ago, UFOs come in and out of vogue, and of course revivals of Christianity continue.


      4. The following video involves a situation which is physically impossible, indeed absurd. Yet it is not possible to watch this and the subsequent 2 videos without feeling a grave sense of terror. The rational mind can deny this scenario, but there are underlying signals which cause us to react as if it is real.


      5. Good catch! I noticed my heart rate shot up while watching this.

        As much as I’d like to blame that on Karen Black’s 70’s hairdo, I doubt this is the case. This video of absurdities demonstrates that it doesn’t take much stimulus to unshackle our instincts.

        Our rational minds are built atop platforms designed to cope in the primeval, hunter/gatherer carnival of terrors.

    2. Actually the mayan calander ends its final phase THIS YEAR. Not the 2012 date but Oct28th 2011. The calander represented on Youtube is based on evolving conscious, and cyclic movment. Supposedly we will realize a universal conscious, and bring to an end the 4th age of earth, and starting the 5th age.(apparantly a 16.4b year cycle) So OCT29th is the mayan new year, and reason to have a party.

      1. Universal conscious?
        Yeah right, just like we would gather a universal conscious in 2000 and we would have love and world peace and no more hunger.

      2. Hot chaos, I like the idea, frown on the concepts presented, yearn for the simpler days of tomorrow when this is behind us.


  4. Actually … since the moon is new (and not viewable) … er ah … mars is impressively bigger in the night sky compared to the moon

    1. WOW, you never heard of the “NEW WORLD ORDER” they are approaching their endgame of a few hundred year plan. A 1 world gov’t is a very real posibility in the very near future.

  5. I think most people are tied up following the “brown dwarf” Comet Elenin somewhere out there in our solar system, wreaking havoc on the poor inhabitants of Earth! o_O

    But congratulations are in order, Fraser. :^)

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