Tuesday, 26 August 2008
Internet hoax reaches Mars
August 26, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug 25: An internet hoax that Planet Mars will appear as big and bright as the Moon on August 27 is flooding email messages in the city, creating a sort of scientific sensation.
Thousands of netizens in Hyderabad and other parts of the country have received email messages on the "spectacular celestial phenomenon" that will repeat only after 60,000 years. As enthusiast net users gear up to witness the phenomenon, astrophysicists debunk it as yet another internet hoax.
Presently Mars is away from the Earth after coming closer to it during December last year. However closer Mars may come to the Earth, it will never appear like the Moon. This is because Mars is farther away from the Earth than the Moon.
Every August the hoax about the Mars appearing like the Moon is circulated to keep the myth alive. This has been going on since August 2003, when the Mars came closer to the Earth.
Along with the Mars hoax, other internet hoaxes that have doing the round in
email boxes in Hyderabad are about a "fiery rainbow" in the skies in Canada,
a human tree in Nalgonda and the miraculous survival of two girls buried alive by their cruel father in Egypt.
"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," says the hoax email on the Mars.
About the "human tree" somewhere in Nalgonda district, the email hoax with pictures depicts a trunk covered with detailed images of many different creatures. The email claims that the tree is an example of an unknown species that grows in a dense forest in Andra Pradesh. "The tree is a completely natural living plant and that all of the animal figures on its trunk have mysteriously grown there naturally and without human interference," it says.
The most common hoax on internet is about some people in Africa who died after ants made their way into their brains. Another hoax is about the mysterious "Nareepol Tree" in Thailand that grows fruit in the shape of women. Yet another common hoax is that one can charge a mobile phone battery by touching the stems of peepal tree leaves to the terminals.
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