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#1
10-19-2014, 01:20 AM
 Member Join Date: Aug 2005 Location: Ottawa Posts: 24,600

## Do people in the southern hemisphere view the moon as inverted compared to the northern hemisphere?

Yeah, strange question.

Imagine a person standing on the North Pole. He's looking at the Moon.
Imagine a person standing on the South Pole. She's looking at the Moon.

You would think that the Moon would be inverted for each person; but is it?

I don't think it is, but I don't know why it wouldn't be. The reason I don't think it is is due to my thought process. If these two individuals started walking towards the equator, at what point does the Moon flip? Right at the equator?

Help me understand this?

Do Australians see the Moon inverted from Canadians? I'm pretty sure they don't but I can't grasp the physics or perhaps the optics of it all.

Last edited by Leaffan; 10-19-2014 at 01:21 AM.
#2
10-19-2014, 01:23 AM
 Guest Join Date: Nov 2012 Posts: 1,522
Not sure about that , but I always thought the moon looked bigger by the equator.

By the North Pole and South Pole may look smaller.
#3
10-19-2014, 01:51 AM
 Charter Member Join Date: Jan 2004 Location: Albany/Corvallis, OR Posts: 4,757
As you go south from the North Pole (but facing the same direction), viewers will see the same appearance, but higher in the sky. Eventually, it will be so high in the sky that it will vanish over the observer's head. At that point, they'll need to turn around to see it, which is when it will "flip." A person near the north pole lying on the ground with his head facing north will see the same thing as a person near the south pole (also with their head to the north) doing the same thing, assuming the moon is visible to both of them.

If this is hard to visualize, grab an orange, mark it up a bit, and look at it over the top and bottom of some other object. The orientation of the "moon" changes only if your orientation does.

Last edited by TimeWinder; 10-19-2014 at 01:52 AM.
#4
10-19-2014, 04:02 AM
 Charter Member Join Date: Jan 2000 Location: My own private Nogero Posts: 7,150
Not only does the moon look upside-down in the southern hemisphere, but so do all the constellations (there's quite a few visible in both hemispheres). Of course, to a southern hemispherian, it's in the northern hemisphere where things look upside down.

Another thing that's switched is which side of the moon is illuminated. When the moon is a crescent between new moon and first quarter, the right side of the moon is illuminated in the northern hemisphere, while it's the left side in the southern.
#5
10-19-2014, 04:05 AM
 Charter Member Join Date: Mar 2004 Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia Posts: 11,386
Have a look at any of the sites that display current moon phases by city and choose a southern and northern city at much the same longitude:

Adelaide

Tokyo
#6
10-19-2014, 04:23 AM
 Guest Join Date: Mar 2006 Location: Southern North Posts: 1,383
As someone who has lived in both NZ and Canada I can confirm that the moon rotates in the sky. (About 90 degrees, as you'd expect from 45N to 45S.

The really interesting part is that you can see a "Man in the Moon" face at both orientations.

http://www.netaxs.com/~mhmyers/cdjpgs/mnman.jpg shows the Northern Hemisphere orientation with a big white cheek. The Southern hemisphere moon has a big forehead.

Last edited by Baffle; 10-19-2014 at 04:26 AM.
#7
10-19-2014, 04:29 AM
 Guest Join Date: May 2003 Location: Bangkok Posts: 5,293
Yes they do, in fact at school I remembered being taught the phases of the Moon by noting that it was C shaped when Crescent and D shaped when De-crescent, opposite to what I see now living in the Northern Hemisphere.

Obviously this means there is an intermediate state in between North and South, so near the equator the Moon is on its side, so to speak, with the illuminated/dark line nearly horizontal.
#8
10-19-2014, 08:06 AM
 Retired Straight Dope Staff Charter Member Join Date: Oct 2005 Location: North Shore of LI Posts: 19,427
What a great question! It never, ever occured to me to wonder about that. And to find out the answer is yes, is even cooler.
#9
10-19-2014, 10:21 AM
 Charter Member Join Date: Sep 2003 Location: Southeast Florida USA Posts: 21,035
Quote:
 Originally Posted by IvoryTowerDenizen What a great question! It never, ever occured to me to wonder about that. And to find out the answer is yes, is even cooler.
Don't read too much to into it.

Today the moon is a few hours ahead of the sun. So sometime near mid-day today go outside & lay on the ground with your head towards North & feet towards South. Look at the Moon. Now spin 180 degrees so your head is South & feet are North. Look at the Moon again. Oh my Gosh, it's upside down!!!1!! You rotated the moon!!

No you didn't. You rotated your head. That's all that's happening here.

If I told you that when standing and facing North then East is on your right, but if you face South then West is to your right, would you tell me that turning around somehow exchanges East for West? Same thing.

Last edited by LSLGuy; 10-19-2014 at 10:24 AM.
#10
10-19-2014, 10:44 AM
 Retired Straight Dope Staff Charter Member Join Date: Oct 2005 Location: North Shore of LI Posts: 19,427
Quote:
 Originally Posted by LSLGuy Don't read too much to into it. Today the moon is a few hours ahead of the sun. So sometime near mid-day today go outside & lay on the ground with your head towards North & feet towards South. Look at the Moon. Now spin 180 degrees so your head is South & feet are North. Look at the Moon again. Oh my Gosh, it's upside down!!!1!! You rotated the moon!! No you didn't. You rotated your head. That's all that's happening here. If I told you that when standing and facing North then East is on your right, but if you face South then West is to your right, would you tell me that turning around somehow exchanges East for West? Same thing.
That's true.

You have to understand that I have extremely poor spacial skills. It's extraordinarily hard for me to reverse directions to go home, visualize a map in my head and give directions, reorient a map in my head (it's pointing north but I need to go south) etc. I struggle telling left from right. I get lost very easily, even places I've gone lots of times.

So envisioning this is actually pretty hard for me and it seemed like a neat question.
#11
10-19-2014, 10:54 AM
 Guest Join Date: Jun 2002 Location: Norway Posts: 6,642
Quote:
 Originally Posted by LSLGuy Today the moon is a few hours ahead of the sun. So sometime near mid-day today go outside & lay on the ground with your head towards North & feet towards South. Look at the Moon. Now spin 180 degrees so your head is South & feet are North. Look at the Moon again. Oh my Gosh, it's upside down!!!1!! You rotated the moon!!
I'm at 60 degrees North, the Moon is never so high in the sky that doing what you suggest wouldn't feel like looking at part of the sky upside down. At 60 degrees South the other pole of the moon will be the one closest to the horizon and it will indeed be like the moon was upside down compared to what I'm used to.

I don't know how far from the poles this is obvious, but at my latitude what you're describing is akin to saying "I didn't hang the picture upside down, just lie down with your head pointing towards it and look at it. See? It's the right side up!"
#12
10-19-2014, 11:11 AM
 Member Join Date: Mar 2001 Location: The Mitt Posts: 14,239
Quote:
 Originally Posted by naita I'm at 60 degrees North, the Moon is never so high in the sky that doing what you suggest wouldn't feel like looking at part of the sky upside down. At 60 degrees South the other pole of the moon will be the one closest to the horizon and it will indeed be like the moon was upside down compared to what I'm used to. I don't know how far from the poles this is obvious, but at my latitude what you're describing is akin to saying "I didn't hang the picture upside down, just lie down with your head pointing towards it and look at it. See? It's the right side up!"
Agreed.

Geo-gravitational orientation can have a big impact on how you perceive celestial objects overhead.
#13
10-19-2014, 12:21 PM
 Charter Member Join Date: Sep 2003 Location: Southeast Florida USA Posts: 21,035
Quote:
 Originally Posted by IvoryTowerDenizen That's true. You have to understand that I have extremely poor spacial skills. It's extraordinarily hard for me to reverse directions to go home, visualize a map in my head and give directions, reorient a map in my head (it's pointing north but I need to go south) etc. I struggle telling left from right. I get lost very easily, even places I've gone lots of times. So envisioning this is actually pretty hard for me and it seemed like a neat question.
I hope I didn't come across as a snarky jerk. My goal was education and putting the phenomenon in perspective. IOW, it isn't about moving thousands of miles across the Earth to see the Moon from a different point of view. It's simply about standing/sitting/lying in a different orientation.

And for somebody who's spatially challenged that's a big area of natural confusion.
#14
10-19-2014, 12:32 PM
 Retired Straight Dope Staff Charter Member Join Date: Oct 2005 Location: North Shore of LI Posts: 19,427
Quote:
 Originally Posted by LSLGuy I hope I didn't come across as a snarky jerk. My goal was education and putting the phenomenon in perspective. IOW, it isn't about moving thousands of miles across the Earth to see the Moon from a different point of view. It's simply about standing/sitting/lying in a different orientation. And for somebody who's spatially challenged that's a big area of natural confusion.

No! You didn't sound snarky at all. It was educating!
#15
10-19-2014, 12:37 PM
 Member Join Date: Mar 2001 Location: The Mitt Posts: 14,239
Quote:
 Originally Posted by LSLGuy I hope I didn't come across as a snarky jerk. My goal was education and putting the phenomenon in perspective. IOW, it isn't about moving thousands of miles across the Earth to see the Moon from a different point of view. It's simply about standing/sitting/lying in a different orientation. And for somebody who's spatially challenged that's a big area of natural confusion.
Except!

When actually shifting latitudes by so much, the moon appears upside down, yet still rises in the east.

IOW: It's the orientation of the moon relative to the horizon that makes this an interesting phenomenon/illusion.

Last edited by cmyk; 10-19-2014 at 12:41 PM.
#16
10-19-2014, 12:48 PM
 Retired Straight Dope Staff Charter Member Join Date: Oct 2005 Location: North Shore of LI Posts: 19,427
Quote:
 Originally Posted by cmyk Except! When actually shifting latitudes by so much, the moon appears upside down, yet still rises in the east. IOW: It's the orientation of the moon relative to the horizon that makes this an interesting phenomenon/illusion.
See, now I have a headache.

#17
10-19-2014, 12:58 PM
 Guest Join Date: Jun 2006 Location: The Nekkid Pueblo Posts: 22,218
At first glance, this seemed like such a naive question to me. I'm humbled that I'm the one who's naive and my ignorance has been fought and brought down to the mat today. I truly learned something. Thanks, Leaffan, for raising an interesting question I never thought about and thanks everyone else for your illuminating answers. I mean this sincerely, no snark intended.
#18
10-19-2014, 01:24 PM
 Guest Join Date: Dec 2009 Location: In the Woods Posts: 342
˙ɹǝpun uʍop ʞooq ɐ ƃuᴉpɐǝɹ ʎɹʇ 'ǝɹǝɥdsᴉɯǝɥ uɹǝɥʇnos ǝɥʇ ɯoɹɟ ʎuunɟ sʞool uooɯ ǝɥʇ ʞuᴉɥʇ noʎ ɟI

I think seeing the sun move across the sky from right to left would take some getting used to.
#19
10-19-2014, 01:25 PM
 Charter Member Join Date: Mar 1999 Location: N/W Arkansas Posts: 8,723
What is interesting to me is that I would not notice the man in the moon orientation at all. Just if it was where it was not supposed to be. I am very good about my position in relation to the world, left, right, North, South stuff but when thinking about using land marks to determine that, if a mountain sometimes had snow on the top & other times it didn't, it would not be something I would notice while determining where I was or which direction I am facing.

I wonder it this has anything to do with being in a 3D dimension a lot of the time? Flying, SCUBA diving, etc. I also am very good about being able to return to a place or remember if I was ever there or not.

Would that be more of a left brain, right brain thing or just what seems important to me? And what would incline me be that way?
#20
10-19-2014, 01:38 PM
 Member Join Date: Mar 2001 Location: The Mitt Posts: 14,239
Here's a pic of the moon rising in NYC.

Here's a pic of the moon rising in Sydney.

You can see the moon appears rotated relative to the horizon by almost 90°—the same degree shift in latitude between the two cities.

Last edited by cmyk; 10-19-2014 at 01:39 PM.
#21
10-19-2014, 02:15 PM
 Retired Straight Dope Staff Charter Member Join Date: Oct 2005 Location: North Shore of LI Posts: 19,427
Quote:
 Originally Posted by cochrane At first glance, this seemed like such a naive question to me. I'm humbled that I'm the one who's naive and my ignorance has been fought and brought down to the mat today. I truly learned something. Thanks, Leaffan, for raising an interesting question I never thought about and thanks everyone else for your illuminating answers. I mean this sincerely, no snark intended.
Ditto, ditto. Nicely said.
#22
10-19-2014, 02:26 PM
 Guest Join Date: Oct 2007 Location: Lenapehoking Posts: 1,659
Those are 2 photos that nicely illustrate the issue, cmyk. Thanks!
#23
10-19-2014, 02:37 PM
 Guest Join Date: Jun 2006 Location: The Nekkid Pueblo Posts: 22,218
Quote:
 Originally Posted by IvoryTowerDenizen Ditto, ditto. Nicely said.
Upon thinking more about this, I should not have been surprised, as I know in the Northern hemisphere, the shadow on a sundial appears to move in a "clockwise" direction and in the Southern hemisphere it appears to move "counter clockwise" due to the sun's apparent position in the sky and the need to point the gnomon to true south rather than true north. This would also seem to apply to the apparent orientation of the moon with respect to the observer.
#24
10-19-2014, 02:59 PM
 Charter Member Join Date: Aug 2001 Posts: 14,659
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Baffle As someone who has lived in both NZ and Canada I can confirm that the moon rotates in the sky.
No, it doesn't. It's your view of the Moon that rotates.
#25
10-19-2014, 04:30 PM
 Guest Join Date: Jul 2006 Location: the front of beyond Posts: 4,199
Quote:
 Originally Posted by newme ˙ɹǝpun uʍop ʞooq ɐ ƃuᴉpɐǝɹ ʎɹʇ 'ǝɹǝɥdsᴉɯǝɥ uɹǝɥʇnos ǝɥʇ ɯoɹɟ ʎuunɟ sʞool uooɯ ǝɥʇ ʞuᴉɥʇ noʎ ɟI I think seeing the sun move across the sky from right to left would take some getting used to.
Wait a minute! How did you do that? All your "t"s are below the line in the upside-down script. That's hella weird.
#26
10-19-2014, 04:35 PM
 Charter Member Moderator Join Date: Jan 2000 Location: The Land of Cleves Posts: 85,111
It's not true upside-down script. It's a collection of characters that look like upside-down script: The inverted 'd's, for instance, are just plain ordinary 'p's. And the 'l's are the same as the right-side-up version. Apparently the closest approximation to an upside-down 't' is a character that's centered a bit higher on the line (and likewise for the 'i's).
#27
10-19-2014, 04:44 PM
 Member Join Date: Jun 2009 Location: Here Posts: 13,493
I'm Leo Bloom. I support the making of this thread.

Plus I'm going to think about the man in the moon and 3-D aspects. IvoryTower describes eloquently spatial cretins like me.
#28
10-19-2014, 05:29 PM
 Charter Member Join Date: Jan 2004 Location: Albany/Corvallis, OR Posts: 4,757
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Duckster No, it doesn't. It's your view of the Moon that rotates.
Even more accurately, it's you who rotates.
#29
10-19-2014, 10:17 PM
 Charter Member Join Date: Dec 2001 Location: Houston, Texas, USA Posts: 1,529
I remember one of the more surreal things that struck me when my family moved from Texas to Brazil when I was in high school was that the Moon appeared "sideways" down there.
#30
10-19-2014, 10:22 PM
 Member Join Date: Jun 2009 Location: Here Posts: 13,493
Quote:
 Originally Posted by jimbuff314 Those are 2 photos that nicely illustrate the issue, cmyk. Thanks!
Ditto.

Is the NY one of a famous "blood moon?" Or the largest one of the year...what's that one called? (I think a blood moon is a "second" one in a calendrical month, but I'm not sure now...)
#31
10-19-2014, 10:45 PM
 Charter Member Join Date: Nov 2002 Location: Chicago's Northside Posts: 3,200
I recall reading that this would be one of a couple of problems with planning any giant advertisements on the surface of the moon like laser projections or billboards.
#32
10-20-2014, 12:24 AM
 Member Join Date: Mar 2001 Location: The Mitt Posts: 14,239
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Leo Bloom Ditto. Is the NY one of a famous "blood moon?" Or the largest one of the year...what's that one called? (I think a blood moon is a "second" one in a calendrical month, but I'm not sure now...)
No, that's only because it's low on the horizon, and just as in sunrises/sunsets, the thicker atmosphere is refracting all those red wavelengths, coloring the moon similarly.

As far as a second full moon within a calendar month, you're thinking of a "blue moon". But it can be a bit more complicated than just that (see the wiki article).

As far as a "blood moon" you might be thinking of what a lunar eclipse is sometimes referred to when the glowing red umbra of earth's shadow crosses over. Why red? because the earth's atmosphere is aglow, from the sun behind it, like a ring of fire around the earth from the POV of the moon, and is casting all that red light onto its surface during the "darkest" part of the eclipse. The moon is seeing all of Earth's sunrises and sunsets all at once.

Last edited by cmyk; 10-20-2014 at 12:26 AM.
#33
10-20-2014, 03:46 AM
 Charter Member Join Date: Sep 1999 Location: Where the wild roses grow Posts: 24,924
This came up here a few years ago and I made a graphic back then to illustrate the phenomenon.
#34
10-20-2014, 04:14 AM
 Member Join Date: Aug 2005 Location: Ottawa Posts: 24,600
Quote:
 Originally Posted by GuanoLad This came up here a few years ago and I made a graphic back then to illustrate the phenomenon.
Nice graphic GL, and it helps me visualize the Moon from different latitudes. Thank you.

I'll sleep better now.
#35
10-20-2014, 07:03 AM
 Guest Join Date: May 2009 Location: Sydney, Australia Posts: 1,729
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Ale Yes they do, in fact at school I remembered being taught the phases of the Moon by noting that it was C shaped when Crescent and D shaped when De-crescent, opposite to what I see now living in the Northern Hemisphere. Obviously this means there is an intermediate state in between North and South, so near the equator the Moon is on its side, so to speak, with the illuminated/dark line nearly horizontal.
A Dutch woman told me that she remembered it using the French premier and dernier (the shape of the round part of the first letter matches the phase). Then I swap them round for the southern hemisphere. C for Crescent is much easier!
#36
10-20-2014, 07:15 AM
 Charter Member Join Date: Mar 2004 Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia Posts: 11,386
We were taught at school to remember the COD pattern by using the Latin verbs crescere and decrescere.
#37
10-20-2014, 09:45 AM
 Guest Join Date: Jan 2004 Location: Regina, SK, Canada Posts: 2,000
When I traveled from Regina SK. (50d N) to Palm Springs CA (34 d N) I noticed that the moon was sideways. Similar to the picture of Sydney Aus. (34 d S)
#38
10-20-2014, 04:14 PM
 Member Join Date: Jan 2003 Location: Minneapolis Posts: 11,114
Quote:
 Originally Posted by sweat209 Not sure about that , but I always thought the moon looked bigger by the equator. By the North Pole and South Pole may look smaller.
I doubt it. While you may be closer to the moon being on the equator compared to the poles the difference wouldn't be visually noticeable.
The moon is over 238K miles away and we're talking about a difference of probably less than 5K miles.
#39
10-20-2014, 09:01 PM
 Charter Member Join Date: Dec 2002 Location: Very east of Foggybog, WI Posts: 5,461
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Ale Yes they do, in fact at school I remembered being taught the phases of the Moon by noting that it was C shaped when Crescent and D shaped when De-crescent, opposite to what I see now living in the Northern Hemisphere.
This wouldn't appear to help at all. I've always seen "crescent" applied to both the waxing and waning moon just before or just after the new moon.
#40
10-20-2014, 10:03 PM
 Guest Join Date: May 2003 Location: Bangkok Posts: 5,293
Quote:
 Originally Posted by OldGuy This wouldn't appear to help at all. I've always seen "crescent" applied to both the waxing and waning moon just before or just after the new moon.
The Latin root of the word crescent means "to grow", as in increasing size.

In Spanish, they way I learned it, "Cresciente" (the name of the Moon phase), means "enlarging, growing"
#41
10-20-2014, 10:51 PM
 Charter Member Join Date: Dec 2002 Location: Very east of Foggybog, WI Posts: 5,461
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Ale The Latin root of the word crescent means "to grow", as in increasing size. In Spanish, they way I learned it, "Cresciente" (the name of the Moon phase), means "enlarging, growing"
And also decreasing. In any case, Merriam Webster online, Wikipedia, and the other places I looked on line define the crescent moon as either before 1st quarter or after last quarter which is the way I've always known it in English. What is the moon after last quarter called in Spanish?
#42
10-21-2014, 12:33 AM
 Guest Join Date: Oct 2007 Location: Lenapehoking Posts: 1,659
Quote:
 Originally Posted by Ale Yes they do, in fact at school I remembered being taught the phases of the Moon by noting that it was C shaped when Crescent and D shaped when De-crescent, opposite to what I see now living in the Northern Hemisphere.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by OldGuy This wouldn't appear to help at all. I've always seen "crescent" applied to both the waxing and waning moon just before or just after the new moon.
Trying to see where the confusion is. I think what Ale was saying is that in the Southern Hemisphere, when the moon is waxing (crescent - from the Latin root meaning "to grow"), the bulge of the moon points to the left, as does the bulge of the letter "C". Similarly, when the moon is waning (de-crescent - "ungrow") the bulge of the moon points to the right, as does the bulge of the letter "D".

If that is not what he meant, god help us all.
#43
10-21-2014, 01:18 AM
 Member Join Date: Mar 2001 Location: The Mitt Posts: 14,239
That must be a Southern Hemisphere thing, as up here in the NH, the ridge of the crescent during 1st quarter (waxing, right after New Moon), would match the curve of a "D" then the curve in the waning 4th quarter would match a "C".
#44
10-21-2014, 01:23 AM
 Guest Join Date: Aug 2001 Location: on your last raw nerve Posts: 22,438
Quote:
 Originally Posted by LSLGuy Oh my Gosh, it's upside down!!!1!! You rotated the moon!! No you didn't. You rotated your head. That's all that's happening here.

He may have rotated his head, but you just blew his mind!
#45
10-21-2014, 04:17 AM
 Guest Join Date: May 2003 Location: Bangkok Posts: 5,293
Quote:
 Originally Posted by jimbuff314 Trying to see where the confusion is. I think what Ale was saying is that in the Southern Hemisphere, when the moon is waxing (crescent - from the Latin root meaning "to grow"), the bulge of the moon points to the left, as does the bulge of the letter "C". Similarly, when the moon is waning (de-crescent - "ungrow") the bulge of the moon points to the right, as does the bulge of the letter "D". If that is not what he meant, god help us all.
Yes, that's correct.

Catastrophe averted.
#46
10-21-2014, 10:49 AM
 Elephant Whisperer Join Date: Nov 2006 Location: Honolulu, Hawaii Posts: 41,045
Myself, I still haven't figured out how people in the Southern Hemisphere keep from falling off the planet.
#47
10-21-2014, 05:22 PM
 Member Join Date: Mar 2001 Location: The Mitt Posts: 14,239
Glue.
#48
10-21-2014, 09:28 PM
 Elephant Whisperer Join Date: Nov 2006 Location: Honolulu, Hawaii Posts: 41,045
I suspected as such.
#49
10-21-2014, 09:58 PM
 Guest Join Date: May 2003 Location: Bangkok Posts: 5,293
No no no... we are more attractive.
#50
10-21-2014, 10:12 PM
 Guest Join Date: Nov 2009 Posts: 5,322
Quote:
 Originally Posted by newme I think seeing the sun move across the sky from right to left would take some getting used to.
Absolutely! I was on a bus, traveling across the USA, thinking "East, East, East...". I knew I was traveling West, but I was completely thrown by the strong feeling that I was traveling East. Then I looked down out of the bus, and realised that the shadow of the bus was on the wrong side. In Aus, when I travel West, the Sun is on my right, and my shadow is on my left.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Ale Obviously this means there is an intermediate state in between North and South, so near the equator the Moon is on its side, so to speak, with the illuminated/dark line nearly horizontal.
And this is strange too! And it's definitely weird in Alice Springs. The crescent moon points towards the sun, and the crescent moon lies down and points towards the horizon. I never noticed a difference between N/S hemisphere, but the difference between Chicago and Darwin in strikingly obvious.

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