# Dr. Phil and the Moon

No, not that Dr. Phil. The other one:

A humourous post, but I frowned more and more as I tried to work out just why the Moon’s horns always point the way they do, depending only on which hemisphere of the Earth you are situated in. I tried to visualize the hideously complex mechanics involved, what the Earth’s tilt and the fact that the plane of the Moon’s orbit is inclined with respect to that of the Earth. I still can’t work it out - it’s too early in the morning. Will have to go think about it today, and perhaps draw a few diagrams.

Or perhaps some clever soul here will explain it in such simple terms that I’ll once again be wearing a red imprint of my hand on my forehead for a few days…

Also, Musk is originally South African, and we are whacky enough, so maybe the Simpsons could be from here. I went skydiving in America in 1986 and was very confused at the time seeing this. No internet for me back then, and spend a day in the local library on my return trying to figure it out.

You’ve immediately confused me but on a tangental path.

Wouldn’t the waxing and waning mean that both hemispheres get to see both orientations?

Explains why things look up side down when traveling to another hemisphere.

Second question

Do we think it was a mistake they made. Or on purpose, seems a funny mistake for them to make.

Yes, but when the moon is visible just after sunset (i.e. early evening, as in the Simpsons cartoon) it will always be waxing, and for us in the Southern hemisphere will always look like this ( … oftewel G-vormig, en G staan vir “groter”.

We see it as a ) only when it wanes, but then it sets before the sun, and it won’t be visible in that shape during early evening.

Rigil

Ah, consider me enlightened.

Yeah, I got it some time this morning. Thing is, I thought that what with the Moon sometimes being north of the ecliptic and sometimes south, etc etc., it might make a difference, but of course where we are will still make a bigger difference.

And yes, it would not surprise me if the Simpsons did this deliberately as a sort of in-joke. Apparently a lot of their scripts are very science and math oriented.

I’ve definitely had moments where I laughed “inappropriately” at some of their jokes because “getting” it required quite a bit of background, and those around me don’t always share the requisite context. Which has to make one wonder what you’re also missing… ex: The above I wouldn’t have cottoned onto…

… then of course you can argue that those jokes are bad if only 0.5% of people get them.

But I wouldn’t.

Just took this pic of this evening’s moon from Dead Syringa Observatory at 33.7oS. Coincidentally, it more or less corresponds to the moon in the Simpsons cartoon, i.e. waxing crescent, as seen from the Southern Hemisphere.

http://forum.skeptic.za.org/fun/dr-phil-and-the-moon/?action=dlattach;attach=1170;image