"Mars will not come closer to Earth"
Astronomers in the United Arab Emirates have rejected reports that the planet Mars would come closer to Earth on Aug 27 and look like a second moon.world Updated: Aug 21, 2008 09:03 IST
Astronomers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have rejected reports that the planet Mars would come closer to Earth on Aug 27 and look like a second moon.
The Emirates Astronomical Society and the Islamic Moon Observatory Project described the reports carried by some prominent Arabic newspapers as "bad astronomy", the official Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported.
Several e-mails have also been circulating that Mars will be the brightest in the night sky on Aug 27 and will look as large as a full moon, creating a rare opportunity to see two moons in the sky.
Mohammed Shoukat Oudha, chairman of the Islamic Moon Observatory Project and a senior Official at the Emirates Astronomical Society, said that the rumour was triggered by the fact that Mars becomes more luminous every 780 days as it orbits between the sun and the earth.
Stating that it would never be larger than usual to the naked eye this year, he said: "By the will of God, this may happen in year 2287 AD, and Mars will appear in the sky as large as a full moon, giving the mankind a feeling that the earth has two moons, one in the east and the other in the west."