#ZeroGDay Is A Lie — We Will Not Become Weightless Due to Planetary Alignment on January 4
For all of us who have been bingeing on holiday cookies and leftover side dishes, finding news of a #ZeroGDay on January 4, which would render earthlings weightless for a few minutes, was a godsend and a great comfort as I continued to chomp on my once-grand gingerbread house. As most of us have seen on our Facebook newsfeeds, NASA tweeted that an unusual planetary alignment will leave you weightless in January for a brief period in time. The only problem with this story? It's a complete lie.
Daily Buzz Live, a news site that admits to occasionally publishing fake articles for entertainment purposes, cooked up this hoax. Their story claimed that on January 4, at 9:47 AM, Pluto would pass behind Jupiter causing a gravitational pull that will counteract Earth’s gravity. Apparently, if you jumped at the precise moment of the alignment, it would take you three seconds to hit the ground again as opposed to the usual 0.2 seconds, allowing a temporary feeling of weightlessness. The story of this strange floating sensation went viral and was shared using the hashtags #zerogday and #beready.
Alas, those who bought into the story will be sorely disappointed, and find themselves gleefully jumping into the air for no reason. A NASA spokesperson told AL.com that the rumors are false and the tweet is a doctored image, noting that microgravity only exists off Earth.
The science behind this #zerogday claim simply doesn’t add up. According to astronomer and Slate writer Phil Plait, the gravitational forces of other planets have “essentially” no effect on anyone on Earth. Even though other planets in the solar system are incredibly large with strong gravitational pulls, their distance from our planet weakens their force. Plait says that if you were to feel a pull at all, it would amount to “less than the impact of the flutter of a butterfly’s wing.” Furthermore, Plait points out that on January 4, Jupiter and Pluto will be on opposites sides of the sky, about as far apart as they get in their orbits.
So it looks as though next Sunday will be a regular day gravitation-wise. Try and find a way to break the news gently to your friends who have already purchased NASA hoodies and Moon Boots to commemorate the occasion. But most importantly, we should remember that not everything that we read on the Internet is true, no matter how legitimate it looks. RIP #zerogday.
Image: Daily Buzz Live