You may have seen breathless posts on Facebook recently, excitedly saying that next week a rare event would happen and be visible from right here in Ocean County - "there will appear to be two moons in the sky!" with Mars at a never before experienced closeness to Earth.

There's one big problem with the story - it's totally false.

If Mars appeared to be as big as the moon, we'd have reason to worry, because somebody's orbit would be seriously out of whack.

But don't let the fake news take away from the rare celestial events that are going on right now.

Mars is indeed very bright right now, it is indeed very close in the sky to the moon, and it's hard to miss with its signature rusty color:

Mars and the moon from the Jersey Shore - August 23, 2018
Mars and the moon from the Jersey Shore - August 23, 2018

In addition, if you scan the night sky right above us here in Ocean County, Venus is even brighter, Jupiter is visible with the naked eye, and Saturn is also on show.

So, no, there won't be a "double moon", it isn't a first-ever event (Mars was this close in 2003 and will be again in 2033), and there is no imminent planetary apocalypse.

But, again, don't let that stop you from looking up!

The summer night sky here in Ocean County is putting on a heck of a show right now!


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