Sky watchers, who are eagerly waiting to witness a celestial wonder, will be disappointed to know that the appearance of two moons, on Wednesday, 27 August, is a hoax.
"There'll be no such celestial wonder on August 27. It's Saturn and Mars coming adjacent to each other. It surely is a nice sight but for a layman it'll look like another star. Amateur astronomers might be able to make out the difference." The Times of India quoted Pramod Galgali, Joint director of the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium in Bangalore.
A message in social media crops up every year about two moons being visible late August. For more than a decade, this particular old hoax resurfaces during the months of July and August. Earlier, it used to spread through emails accompanied by a photo, but has now consumed Whatsapp as well, reported IBN Live.
The hoax says that on this particular day, Mars will appear as large as the full moon.
The message being shared on social media says, "On 27th August 2014 there will be two moon. The whole world is waiting for it. On this day Mars will be very bright and like moon everyone can see it with naked eyes. This day it will be 34.65 M Miles away from earth. On this day do not forget to see this at 12.30 night. Because you will see two moons in the sky. This event will happen again in the year 2287. Please share this with all. Because those who are living now cannot see it second time in the year 2287.."
One of the photos below has been circulating explaining Mars and Moon will appear as "double moon" on 27 August.
12:30 Aug27 you will see two moons in the sky, but only one will be the moon. The other will be Mars.next time 2287. pic.twitter.com/xro5RbMNdd
— Korah.B. (@jesykorah) August 24, 2014
The first message surfaced in 2003 when Mars was at its closest proximity with Earth after about 60,000 years, and since then a similar message has been reviving every summer, the only noticable change being the date.
Back in 2005, NASA had exposed the fake nature of the hoax and so did some of the other astronomical websites.
Mars can never appear as big as a full moon as seen from Earth. Moreover, the Moon will not be full on 27 August 2014, though, a fine crescent can be spotted in the west after sunset, explained Deborah Byrd from Earth Sky.
"Mars will not be at its brightest or closest in August of 2014, or at any time in 2014. In 2014, Mars is closest to Earth on 8 April, but it won't be as close this year as in some years," Byrd added.
Further, even if Mars reaches its shortest distance from Earth, it can only be viewed as a bright spot and in no way could be close to the size of the Moon when viewed from Earth.
However, on 9 September, sky gazers can have the spectacular view of the next full moon, which will be the last super moon of the year 2014.