The Mars Hoax
I got an e-mail this year, for the third consecutive year running, that tells us Mars will be closer to the Earth on August 27, than it has ever been for 60,000 years… one such e-mail even gives the mistaken impression that Mars would look like a full moon.
Yes folks, it is a hoax. It began in 2003, when Mars and Earth did make their closest encounter for 60,000 years or so.
At that time, Mars was particularly bright in the sky, but at no time in recorded history has Mars been close enough to appear as big as the Moon. By our current understanding of celestial mechanics, Mars the size of the Moon is improbable in the extreme. If such a thing were to happen we’d have bigger fish to fry, and an Internet brouhaha would pale in significance.
Snopes has the official line for the debunk.
Right now, if the clouds ever clear, you will see Mars rise at about 1 am in the constellation of Taurus, being the brighter red spot beside Aldebaran (the eye of the Bull) and a little way down from the Pleiades (looks like a string of pearls dropped in the sky above Taurus).
This year, we make our closest run with Mars in the period from November through all of January, during its retrograde transit.
The hoax is harmless enough, but I like to keep the record straight.