Will a planetary alignment on Sunday allow you to experience temporarily weightlessness?

Maybe you’ve read the posts on Facebook or Twitter. This version is from a site called Daily Buzz:

Planetary Alignment On Jan 4, 2015 Will Decrease Gravity For 5 Minutes Causing Partial Weightlessness

According to British astronomer Patrick Moore, at exactly 9:47 PST AM on January 4th, Pluto will pass directly behind Jupiter, in relation to 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 virtually weightless. If you jump in the air at 9:47 AM PST, on January 4, 2015, it should take you about 3 seconds to land back on your feet instead of the usual 0.2 seconds.

Well, that sure sounds cool. If you jump up in the air at exactly 9:47 AM on Sunday, you’ll kind of float back down to the ground. I  saw this and I was totally ready to blow the mind of my 3-year-old son. I could just picture his squeals of delight as I dropped him from about three feet up and he gently floated back to the floor. Unfortunately, according to Snopes.com, the website that debunks all kinds of internet hoaxes from 9/11 conspiracies to fake celebrity deaths, it’s not real. Snopes says that this one dates back to April Fool’s Day 1976, when . . .

British astronomer Patrick Moore informed a radio audience that the movement of two planets would result in an upward gravitational pull which would make people on Earth lighter at precisely 9:47 a.m. that day. He invited his audience to jump in the air and experience “a strange floating sensation,” and within minutes dozens of listeners had reportedly phoned in to say the experiment had worked!

It was just a kooky radio stunt! So, this one’s been recycled from the 1970s, even though this Patrick Moore guy actually died in 2012.

It’s true that on January 4 the earth will be as close to the sun as it will get all year. But, sadly, if you want to actually weigh less this Sunday morning, even for a second or two, you’re just going to have to eat less pie on Saturday night.

(John Fisher, in for AJ)

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