Does Mars ever get so close to Earth that it looks to us as large as the full moon?

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Dear Tom,
A couple of days ago I received an email saying Mars will pass so close to the Earth this coming Dec. 23 that it will appear to the naked eye to be as large as the full moon. How often does this happen?
— Jimmy Wattersic

Dear Jimmy,
You received an email hoax. Versions of the hoax contain phrases like “The Red Planet is about to be spectacular,” “On (date), Mars will look as large as the full moon” and “No one alive will ever see this again,” but it’s just not true.
It all started when Mars orbited within 35 million miles of Earth on Aug. 27, 2003, its closest approach in just under 60,000 years. Then, Mars appeared as large as the full moon, but only when viewed through a telescope at 75-power magnification. Mars made another close approach to Earth in December 2007: at 55 million miles. Those approaches had no effect on the Earth.


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