Mars and the Moon

Hi everyone! I’d be updating more often (it’s the summer after all), but I’m doing an astronomy research REU at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. So my time has been taken up (as usual) by science. Still, I didn’t want to leave y’all hanging. So I wanted to clear something up I’ve heard a lot.

Many people have asked/told me, including various family members of mine, if/that Mars will be so close to the Earth that it will appear as large as the Moon in the sky. Even after I get taken aback by the comment, and say otherwise, some INSIST that it will be the case. I’m not 100% sure where this rumor gets started, but it will never happen. I came across this Tree Lobsters comic that perfectly illustrates my point:

So before you start believing that this will happen, remember what you’ve just seen. Mars is awesome, and is sometimes closer to Earth than at other times. But it will always appear as a dot on the sky. To see it as the size of the Moon, you will need a telescope. Sorry.

I know, I know, this is kind of a cop-out post. But I’m working on a legitimate post soon on a quantum mechanics experiment with an awesome result. Stay tuned!

EDIT: I just received an email from my advisor with a post made by Neil Tyson last summer about this very issue, further emphasizing this point:

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