2020 has been a pretty wild year so far. From the pandemic to the elections, 2020 has been anything but predictable. To make matters even scarier, Mars will be in retrograde from Wednesday, September 9, to Friday, November 13. Mercury will also be in retrograde from October 14 to November 3.

What is Retrograde?

Mars in our Night Sky
Image from NASA Exploration Program

First, let’s understand what’s going on. Retrograde motion is the apparent change in the motion of the planets. As the Earth revolves around the Sun, certain planets appear to go backward. As NASA notes:

About every 26 months, Earth comes up from behind and overtakes Mars. While we’re passing by the red planet this year, it will look to us as though Mars is moving up and down. Then, as we move farther along our curved orbit and see the planet from a different angle, the illusion will disappear and we will once again see Mars move in a straight line.

The same is true for Mercury and all the other planets that experience retrograde. This is entirely an illusion based upon our observation. If we were to travel to Mars, the Earth would appear to have a retrograde motion from time to time. With our understanding of how the Solar System works, we can calculate when these apparent retrogrades will happen. For Mars, the retrograde motion happens every two years.

Why are People so Afraid of Mercury Retrograde

This is a natural phenomenon and it is well-understood why and how this happens. So why do we keep seeing memes and people warning us about this apparent motion? Because people like to believe in pseudoscience nonsense, magic, and make-believe. Astrology.com explains:

While there’s often much ado about Mercury and its retrogrades, Mars’ backward travels can be just as unsettling. As modern life trends ever closer to the need to be “on” (and online) 24/7, we’ve become quite attached to the driving spirit of Mars, whether we’re conscious of that connection or not. Many of us are conditioned to envision life as an escalator which ascends in a perfectly linear fashion to the next destination. When Mars is in retrograde we may instead find ourselves in turmoil, frustrated by the lack of forward movement.

Source: https://www.astrology.com/retrograde/mars-retrograde

Oh please. Give me a break.

Conclusion

If you want to get the most out of the Martian retrograde, stop believing in pseudoscience nonsense. Open a science textbook and use common sense and reason. How does a planet’s apparent motion affect anything down here on Earth? At its closest, Mars is 57.6 million kilometers from Earth.

Stop believing in bullshit and start reasoning.