Exposing PseudoAstronomy

October 17, 2014

Podcast Episode 118: The Big Mars Hoax / The Two Moons Hoax

Two moons in the sky,
One of them is Mars, but it’s
Too weird to be true.

Finally, a new episode is out. As I slowly ease back into a hopefully regular release schedule (back down to 2x/month), I thought I’d tackle a relatively well known claim, but one that I still thought I could add something to. I got the inspiration for the episode while listening to back-episodes of The Reality Check podcast and they covered this topic.

However, as I said, I think I can still add a significant contribution to the topic, in my own unique format. Yes, I debunk it, but I do it by taking you through Kepler’s Laws of planetary motion, the Small Angle approximation, and show how you can easily estimate how large one object will appear relative to another. Then apply that to Mars.

I also go into a bit of history of the claim, and unlike many that I address on this blog and in the podcast, I don’t think there’s any malice to the people who promote the claim each year. My own Great Aunt Ester thought it was true and sent it to me back in 2009.

As I explain at the end of the episode, I’m still very busy these days, but the amount of busicity (for that neologism, pronounce it as “bizz-I-city” where the “I” is pronounced as the “i” in “it”) has fallen. So, we’ll see how things pan out over the next few weeks. I’m busily listening to old C2C episodes to get material for the Norway Spiral episode, promised at least 3 months ago.


  1. Good to hear your voice again, Stuart. Unfortunately, in this podcast reminder as well as the ‘master list’, all the links keep taking me back to the previous episode (117). (don’t know if the glitch is in me or in my machine.) I will eventually find the proper episode and I’m certain it will be a enlightening as always. Meanwhile, best wishes for your job change and all that will go with it.

    Comment by JayB — October 17, 2014 @ 3:51 pm | Reply

    • Looks like all the links were correct except for the one on the main show notes page for the episode. Forgot to press the Enter key in Dreamweaver. Are there other incorrect links?

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — October 17, 2014 @ 5:30 pm | Reply

  2. Nope. Couldn’t find any others. Must have clicked on a link somehow connected to the email for my second try.
    BTW, I have a short bucket list of questions which I will send by email as soon as events have calmed down for you. . .
    Thanks for the reply.

    Comment by JayB — October 17, 2014 @ 9:03 pm | Reply

  3. Great to have you back Stuart. I had no problems with the download link, and I’ve taken the opportunity to link the shownotes to Wikipedia. Looking forward to when you get round to the email I sent you with the incipits from Nexus Magazine. I have a feeling that the Moon Hoax is going to grow a new set of claims in the near future.

    Comment by Graham — October 18, 2014 @ 1:41 am | Reply

  4. Hmm, Docile tones… Did you mean “dulcet tones”(I know, I know, I’m a nit picking jerk)? Good to have you back!


    Comment by andrew — October 29, 2014 @ 5:05 pm | Reply

    • Whatever.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — October 29, 2014 @ 6:45 pm | Reply

  5. Ouch 🙂

    On a separate note, I didn’t know you had a regular ATS gig. Very cool, I’ll have to start listening.

    Comment by andrew — October 29, 2014 @ 7:52 pm | Reply

    • Docile tones work, too. And yeah, I’m on there Saturday nights on the “ATS Live” show. Sometimes I’m not on because of conflicts, but I try to do it regularly because I can inject some science and skepticism, such as with this Bushman thing. And to be fair, many of the people “in the studio” are reasonable and tend to agree with me.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — October 30, 2014 @ 10:28 am | Reply

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