Just saw the red planet through my 4.5” telescope and 10mm eye piece. Unlike it was advertised on several web sites, no, it doesn’t get as big as moon when looking through modest telescope. Infect there’s barely any difference when I’d looked at it through same scope in last couple of years. So I just went in to some number crunching using fact sheet at Nasa’s web site, and it seems that Mars should look (at best) 30% more brighter and around 40% bigger then I’d seen couple of years ago. Now the catch is that when looking through telescope with above spec (which is pretty beyond modest 70mm stuff), Mars would normally look like a bright tiny disk. So 40% increase would make that tiny disk little bigger - but still a tiny. To make it look as big as Moon you would need increment of 1000% or more and that’s not going to achievable just by Mars coming closer - it’s possible only though much much bigger scopes. So my conclusion is that news sites and emails that kept circulating were pretty misleading to public. Though the good part is that lots of people suddenly got interested in astronomy. Infect one of my friend was so hopeful that he has put a $100 bet with me on whether Mars would look as big as moon on 27th August with bare naked eyes! So I’m not entirely disappointed with this hoax, at least someone would get some money :).