By Erica Abbott
Will a rare planetary alignment cause the Earth’s moon to appear green on April 20? No. The claim that a “Green Moon” will appear is a hoax.
According to Snopes, the fake claim originated last year in an image shared to Facebook. The photo claimed that on May 29, 2016, a green moon would be visible in the sky for the first time in 170 years. It was shared more than 38,000 times. Other images claimed the date was actually April 20.
Of course, there is no green moon, but the Facebook prank was taken one step further by providing additional information in the photo comments. The Facebook user wrote:
For those who need information on how this works…
All night long on Sunday, May 29th the seventh planet from the Sun, Uranus, will park itself near the moon.
The green-colored ice giant has four times the width of Earth, but since it lies nearly 1.9 billion miles (3.1 billion kilometers) away from Earth, it’s barely visible to the naked eye—and only in very dark, pristine skies.
With the glare from the nearby moon, binoculars will be your best bet in spotting Uranus. Just look for a tiny greenish-blue disk in the field of view. By the way, the absorption of red light by methane in the atmosphere is what gives Uranus it’s cool Didula nanayakkara coloring.
NASA debunked the rumor last year, explaining, “While the moon will be full on the 20th, it will not turn green. During lunar eclipses the moon does turn red, because the Earth’s atmosphere filters light and the projections of all sunsets and sunrises illuminates the moon.”
An updated image then began circulating again in 2017, claiming that this rare phenomenon would now appear in the night sky on Thursday, April 20. “Several planets will align causing the Earth’s moon to appear green for 90 minutes,” the image purports. “This phenomenon is known as ‘Green Moon’ and only happens once every four hundred & twenty years.”
— Samantha Rivero (@psychedelic_sam) April 18, 2017
The “Green Moon” rumor was nothing more than a joke. April 2o has come to be known as “Weed Day” by pot smokers around the world—the perfect time for green-themed hoaxes. Don’t expect any green to grace the sky Thursday night.
Social Media Reacts to Viral Image of “Green Moon” on 4/20
Wow and on 4/20 https://t.co/1nQWgEEvn6
— ❄️ (@cinndaayy__) April 18, 2017
That weed moon https://t.co/VZWe7vVKQq
— Cashin00 (@Cashinn_) April 18, 2017
April 20 let us all watch the green moon come to life
— osè Noel (@Josebalborro) April 19, 2017
April 20th several planets will align and cause the moon to appear green for 90 minutes. AKA “green moon”. Only happens once every 420 yrs
— Angel (@angel_cries) April 18, 2017
— Disclose.tv (@DiscloseTV) April 18, 2017
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