This paper features the beginning of the Great Moon Hoax, in which The Sun fooled readers into thinking that life had been discovered on the moon using a special new telescope.
The Great Moon Hoax was an early example of fake news, or a totally fabricated news story. Like many fake news stories today, its author, Richard Adams Locke, intended the articles to be satire, though they were widely believed. Locke was mocking many scientists’ belief in extraterrestrial life, particularly the Scottish minister and writer Thomas Dick. This article also included some real details that made the story more convincing, as many of today’s fake news do; there really was an astronomer named Sir John Herschel who was making observations from the Cape of Good Hope at the time of publication. And the “Edinburgh Journal of Science” had once existed, but it had stopped publication by August 1835.