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Hoax - Extraordinary Planetary Alignment To Decrease Gravity on January 4

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

© Brett M.Christensen, 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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