While watching a recent episode of The Simpsons, Slate's Phil Plait uncovered a shocking secret.
Springfield is in the Southern hemisphere.
Sure, there have been hundreds of references over the years to the Simpsons living in the US. But last month's episode "The Musk Who Fell to Earth" featured incontrovertible astronomical evidence to the contrary.
In one scene, SpaceX founder Elon Musk stared out at a crescent moon just after sunset. Crescent moons that appear after sunset are called waxing crescents: they appear during the part of the lunar cycle when the illuminated part of moon is "waxing," or growing every night.
Due to the alignment of the Earth, Moon, and Sun, the pointy tips of waxing crescents always point to the left for viewers in the Northern Hemisphere. But Musk saw a crescent moon that pointed to the right. Ergo, Springfield must be in the Southern hemisphere.
People in the Northern hemisphere do see crescent moons that point to the right, but those are waning crescents: they appear during the other part of the lunar cycle, when the illuminated part of the moon is "waning," or shrinking. And crucially, waning crescents appear in the early morning, not the evening.
Never mind the many hints dropped throughout the Simpsons' history that Springfield was located in one US state or other, or the interview in which Matt Groening revealed the town was named after one in his native Oregon.
The moon doesn't lie. Springfield must be in the Southern hemisphere.