The Mars Will Be Close To Earth In August Hoax

The following email that I received certainly seems to suggest that the red planet, Mars, will be as close to earth as it ever will be (in our lifetimes) in August of this year –



The Red Planet is about to be spectacular in August of 2009!

This month and next, Earth is catching up with Mars in an encounter that will culminate in the closest approach between the two planets in recorded history. The next time Mars may come this close is in 2287. Due to the way Jupiter’s gravity tugs on Mars and perturbs its orbit, astronomers can only be certain that Mars has not come this close to Earth in the Last 5,000 years, but it may be as long as 60,000 years before it happens again.

The encounter will culminate on August 27th 2009 when Mars comes to within 34,649,589 miles of Earth and will be (next to the moon) the brightest object in the night sky. It will attain a magnitude of -2.9 and will appear 25.11 arc seconds wide. At a modest 75-power magnification

Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye.

Mars will be easy to spot. At the beginning of August 2009 it will rise in the east at 10 PM and reach its azimuth at about 3 a.m.

By the end of August when the two planets are closest, Mars will rise at nightfall and reach its highest point in the sky at 12:30a.m. That’s pretty convenient to see something that no human being has seen in recorded history. So, mark your calendar at the beginning of August to see Mars grow progressively brighter and brighter throughout the month.

Share this with your children and grandchildren.


Sounds convincing doesn’t it, but I’ve already said that the above email is a hoax haven’t I?


The general detail of the email was indeed true back in 2003 which is when the message first started circulating around the internet.

In 2003 the distance between the Earth and Mars was a mere 56 million kilometres which is a safe distance.

Should Mars ever come close enough such that it appeared as large as the moon then we would be in serious trouble – the planet’s gravitational pull would likely have dire consequences, leading to high tides, flooding and who knows what else.

Be grateful that Mars will not get any closer this August!

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. This offers up some interesting insight :

  2. lol @ people who believe this rubbish.

  3. Just got this email myself and of course it is total b*ll*cks.

  4. Can’t believe fools believe these hoax emails.

  5. It’s hard to understand how people who can use the Internet actually believe whatever they see on it.

  6. Catherine says:
  7. Woodwose says:

    To Nial;

    Why would anybody want to send viruses through email and websites?

  8. I don’t understand why somebody would start this hoax?
    Why would you get peoples hopes up about something like that? Doesn’t make sense.

    • Some people just don’t have anything better to do I guess. They probably find it amusing that people believe their fiction.

  9. it was a hoax? it was on the local TV news last year!!

  10. Charlie says:

    BTW, even if it is a hoax, a careful reading is that it doesn’t say it will be as big as the full moon. Note the broken line spacing… the actual sentence is: “At a modest 75-power magnification Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye.”

    • Thats a good point Charlie – the email is contradicting itself there, or is just poorly worded.

      • It’s just poorly worded. If you do the maths, 25.11 arc seconds at 75x magnification comes out at around 30 arc minutes, which is the apparent size of the moon to the naked eye. So it seems they wanted to say “At a modest 75-power magnification, Mars will look as large as the full moon does to the naked eye.”

  11. Sssshhh about the floods, global warming hysteria is bad enough without giving these dudes something else to worry about 😀

  12. Dionne C says:

    Oh no, not this one again. I just got it again just like last year and the year before and the year before that.

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