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Issue 170 - January, 2014 (2nd Edition) - Page 25

Hoax - Extraordinary Planetary Alignment To Decrease Gravity on January 4

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Outline
Circulating report claims, due to an extraordinary planetary alignment at 9:47 on January 4th, 2014 the earth's gravity will be decreased for five minutes and people will therefore weigh less and be able to jump higher.

Children Jumping High

© Depositphotos.com/paulmz



Brief Analysis
The claims are - of course - utter nonsense.  No such decreased gravity event will occur, in January or at any other time. In fact, the report is nothing but a revamped version of an April Fools Day radio prank perpetrated by English astronomer Sir Patrick Moore back in 1976.

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Example
January 4th 2014 – Planetary Alignment Decreases Gravity – Float For 5 minutes! #ZeroGDay

It has been revealed by the British astronomer Patrick Moore that, on the morning of January 4th 2014, an extraordinary astronomical event will occur. At exactly 9:47 am, the planet Pluto will pass directly behind Jupiter, in relation to the 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 weigh less. Moore calls this the Jovian-Plutonian Gravitational Effect.

Decreased Gravity Hoax

Detailed Analysis


According to a message that is currently circulating via social media, an extraordinary astronomical event is set to occur at exactly 9:47 on January 4th 2014 that will briefly decrease earth's gravity, thereby making people weigh less and affording them the ability to jump higher than usual. The message claims that the event, billed as the Jovian-Plutonian Gravitational Effect, was revealed by British astronomer Sir Patrick Moore.

The message links to a longer report that goes on to explain that, on that day and time, the "planet" Pluto will align with Jupiter and Earth. Supposedly, Jupiter and Pluto will exert a gravitational force strong enough to temporarily decrease Earth's gravity.

But, of course, the claims in the message are fanciful nonsense with nary a grain of truth. No such astronomical gravity-decreasing event is set to occur in January 2014 or at any other time.

The report is just a silly hoax.  In fact, it is nothing more than a revamped version of a decades old April Fools joke. On April 1st, 1976, BBC Radio 2 astronomer Sir Patrick Moore told his listeners that at 9:47 am the Earth's gravity would be reduced because Pluto and Jupiter were aligned.

Amazingly, many people called the radio station to report that they had indeed experienced the low gravity effect.

Decades on, at a time when people have instant access to more information than at any other period in human history, you could perhaps assume - or at least hope - that a target audience might be less likely to fall for such a transparent prank. But, given the many comments and queries about the event that I've seen, it seems that many people are just as gullible as ever.  In fact, human gullibility seemingly has no bounds.

And, for the record, while Pluto was considered a fully-fledged planet back in 1976 when the prank was first launched, it has since been stripped of its planethood and is now considered a mere "dwarf" planet.

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Last updated: December 30, 2013
First published: December 30, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
January 4th 2014 – Planetary Alignment Decreases Gravity – Float For 5 minutes! #ZeroGDay
April Fools's Prank - Planetary Alignment - 1976
Why Pluto is No Longer a Planet



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Issue 170 Start Menu

Pages in this issue:
  1. 'Paul Walker Still Alive After Accident' Phishing and Survey Scam
  2. 'Profile Visitors for Facebook' Rogue App and Survey Scam
  3. PG & E Energy Statement Malware Emails
  4. Fake Picture: 'Thailand Snake Girl' - Serpentosis Malianorcis
  5. Tom Crist Lottery Win Advance Fee Scam
  6. Legoland Child Abduction Attempt Hoax
  7. Fake Picasa 'New Photos' Emails Point to Dodgy Pharmacy Website
  8. 'Win a Disney Cruise' Survey Scam
  9. Bogus Advice - Block Hackers by Adding 'Security' to Facebook Blocking Function
  10. Fake - Giant Squid Image
  11. Commonwealth Bank 'eStatement Ready' Phishing Scam
  12. 'Singer Rihanna Found to be Dead' Facebook Survey Scam
  13. Satire - Pope Francis and the 'Third Vatican Council'
  14. Snow Canyon Roadway Image
  15. Albert (Tapper) Torney and the Can Car Sculptures That He Did NOT Make
  16. 'Your Atmos Energy Bill is Available' Malware Email
  17. 'Beware Hack Scam Rollercoaster Clip' Facebook Warning Message
  18. Sainsbury's 'Customer Satisfaction Survey' Phishing Scame
  19. Satire - '18 Million Birds Dead New Year's Eve'
  20. Hoax - 'Marijuana Overdoses Kill 37 in Colorado'
  21. Hoax Report Claims Paul Walker Faked His Own Death
  22. 'Shark Eats Swimming Man' Facebook Survey Scam
  23. 'Notice to Appear in Court' Malware Emails
  24. 'Most Fatal Car Accident' Survey Scam
  25. Hoax - Extraordinary Planetary Alignment To Decrease Gravity on January 4
  26. 'World's Largest Snake Video' Survey Scam
  27. Michael Jackson Died Years Ago Hoax
  28. 'My Home is Burning' Facebook Phishing and Malware Scam
  29. Facebook 'Closed for Maintenance' Prank