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January 06, 2015

What we learn from the past

...is that we never learn from the past.

Will You Float on Zero Gravity Day? Don't Get Fooled Again

Don't be fooled by a new astronomy hoax making the rounds on social media websites.

A widely shared story is claiming that Jan. 4 is "Zero Gravity Day," a date when people on Earth will be able to experience weightlessness while on the planet. The bogus post now appearing on Facebook and other websites at first blush looks legitimate. It shows a Twitter message that was seemingly posted by NASA and says a planetary alignment "will cause a gravitational fluctuation that will leave you weightless" at 9:47 a.m. PT on Jan. 4.

Other reports attributed the details regarding this supposed alignment to the late British astronomer Patrick Moore, who supposedly stated, "At exactly 9:47 PST AM on Jan. 4, Pluto will pass directly behind Jupiter, in relation to Earth. This rare alignment will mean that the combined gravitational force of the two planets would exert a stronger tidal pull, temporarily counteracting the Earth's own gravity and making people virtually weightless." [...]

This story is completely false. In fact, it is a repurposing of an old April Fools' Day joke perpetrated by Moore in 1976. [...]

On April Fools' Day in 1976, Moore told listeners that they'd float momentarily if they jumped in the air at 9:47 a.m. that day.

Afterward, dozens of listeners phoned in to say the experiment worked.

Posted by joke du jour at January 6, 2015 06:02 PM

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