August 26, 2005
The Mars email is currently the hottest urban legend on the Internet, but according to a UVa professor, it's all a big hoax.
The email message claims on Saturday, August 27, 2005 Mars will be closer than it has been in 60,000 years. There is a bit of truth to the hoax, though. Mars was closer than it's been since two years ago, but it won't be that close again until year 2287. However, experts said you can still see Mars through a telescope in the winter months.
"[Starting in] late summer and all through the fall it will appear as a bright reddish orange star in the eastern sky so people can go out and see it with the telescope, it just won't be as spectacular as the email lends you to believe," said Edward Murphy, a UVa Astronomy Professor.
You can see Mars through UVa's giant telescope during November and December from 7 until 9 p.m. The viewing is open to the public.