Claims that a green moon would be visible for the first time in 420 years on April 20 went viral on Facebook this week — and space experts are ready to set the record straight: there's no such thing as a "green moon," and there won't be any lunar surprises any time soon.
EarthSky says the fake phenomenon has been the top searched on their site for several weeks now, which means many are taking the "green moon literally."
But the green moon is simply a made up event that stems from (you guessed it) 4/20, the numerical code for cannabis. Pot smokers recognize the date as a national holiday.
Facebook users are now creating hoax posts claiming the moon will turn green on Friday to mark the occasion. The fake posts can be traced back to 2016 when a user declared a green moon would appear in the night's sky for the first time since 1847, according to fact-checking website Snopes.com. The post has since been deleted.
"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 post read, according to Snopes.com. "The green giant is only 4 degrees away from the moon. The cosmic odd-couple will appear about four degrees apart in the sky — equal to 8 full moons side-by-side. This week after darkness falls the near full moon acts as a convenient guidepost for finding Uranus."
The information was completely "erroneous," EarthSky pointed out, because Uranus is nowhere near the sun. It's actually about 1.7 billion miles away, Space.com reports.
Two years later, the post is now back and another doctored photo the moon is spreading — but the date switched to 4/20. The posts are clearly meant to be a joke, but some people appear to be taking them all too seriously.
"My grandma shared this on FB and truly thinks there is going to be a “green moon” on 4/20," one Twitter user posted last week.
"My mom is convinced there will be a green moon on 4/20. IM CRYING," another wrote Monday.
"My 62-year-old boss told me about the green moon that only happens every 420 years, which he heard about from Facebook. I had to break the news to him."
"My 62-year-old boss told me about the green moon that only happens every 420 years, which he heard about from Facebook. I had to break the news to him," one woman tweeted Wednesday.
Sorry, internet users, there's no need to break out the binoculars this time. You may, however, want to check out the Lyrid meteor shower this month. The annual meteor shower hit Earth on April 16 and is expected to last through April 25. The shower peaks just before dawn — from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. — on April 22.