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Hemisphere Bias
Any shot of a spacecraft or other object orbiting or approaching the Earth will only show that side of the planet where the target audience of the production lives. It will almost always be in full sunlight as well, regardless of whether ground-based scenes in that hemisphere are in day or night.

The one big exception is when they copy "The Blue Marble", a famous space shot of Earth taken by the crew of Apollo 17. That shot is centered on Madagascar.

See also Creator Provincialism.

Examples

  • Averted in Heroman, where most shots are of North America, where the show takes place, rather than Japan, where it was made.
    • Anime set in space usually show the eastern coast of Asia, with the islands of Japan positioned prominently.
  • In Doctor Who shots hang over the British Isles, typically speaking.
    • Though this is averted at the end of Earthshock - the views of Earth quite clearly show Indonesia, China and Australia.
      • Ironically this is one time where a shot of North America would have been justified, since the meteor strike that wiped out the dinosaurs, shown in the programme to be a crashing spacecraft, was in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • The third season of the new Battlestar Galactica ended with a shot of Earth which showed North America. (This should be a spoiler, but given the topic of this trope, it's fairly obvious what that spoiler would hide.) Averted in the fourth season, which shows Africa prominently.
    • Note the clear (and admitted) use of Audience Provincialism. They wanted to show Africa in the first shot too, but executives suggested changing it for fear that the dominantly-North-American audience wouldn't recognize their own planet. But audiences are anticipating the second shot (there's been a Plot Arc built around it), priming them for Africa the second time around.
  • When the aliens arrived in Independence Day we see North America, of course. It was noted that to do this, the Earth's tilt was wrong for July.
  • Lampshaded in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, when Mike and the robots are watching This Island Earth. As the heroes return to Earth, a clear shot of North America is visible, and Crow remarks, "Ah, just like we left it, with the U.S.A. in charge!"
  • Spoofed by Harry Enfield, where a fake Imperial-era PSA series has in its opening credits a shot of the Earth with a Russia-sized British Isles in view.
  • Spoofed in the opening credits of Moral Orel, where the Earth is seen from an angle placing the United States in full view, and there's nothing there but the U.S.: no Canada, no Latin America, just water.
  • In Halo, whenever there's a view of Earth from space it centers on Africa. This is most likely because pretty much all of the Earth levels in the games are set in Africa.
  • The 1924 Soviet science fiction film Aelita has the Queen of Mars fall in love with the protagonist while watching him via a telescope. Since our hero is naturally a good Soviet citizen most of the shots of Earth center on Eurasia.
  • Averted in this video from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. We go from the Himalayas to the edge of the known universe and back again.
  • Averted in Star Trek: First Contact, where a 21st century woman's first view of Earth from orbit is of Australia. Montana (her home), she's told, won't be in view for a little while yet.
    • Played straight with the emblem of the Terran Empire, focusing on North and South America.
  • Averted in Iji, in which the cutscene showing the Komato fleet approaching Earth has the Earth centred at South America. Averted even more so when you consider that the creator is actually Swedish.
  • In Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan and its sequel, the "victory" image after the final level shows Asia and Japan. In the Americanized Elite Beat Agents, the results-screen image is of North America.
  • Averted in the series finale of Stargate Atlantis, for one small part. When Sheppard's F-302 is in orbit around Earth, it is very clearly over Italy.
  • Averted in Explorers on the Moon. In the view of "our good old Earth, seen from over 6,000 miles", South America and Africa are the most visible continents; Europe is obscured from readers by a protruding periscope.
  • The logo for USA Today shows a stylized globe with North and South America facing us.
  • In the Looney Tunes cartoon "Haredevil Hare," Bugs Bunny, from on the Moon, admires the "beautiful Earth out tonight"; he's looking at the Western hemisphere, of course.
  • Averted in X3: Terran Conflict. Egosoft is in Germany and mainly targets Europe, but the view of Earth is centered on Ecuador in South America, and the Torus Aeternal's geosynchronous docking area is directly over the country.
  • Averted in the remake of Survivors, wherein each episode ended with a sudden pullback to a view of the Earth...centred on Gibraltar. The series itself was filmed and set in and around Manchester.
  • Averted in Mass Effect 3: the development team is stationed in Vancouver and the game begins from this city, but the final mission is set in London, and only Europe is clearly visible during the approach to Earth.
    • Averted in Mass Effect 1 as well. You never actually land on Earth, but there is a side mission to Luna whereby Shepard unlocks his/her specialization. The "Blue Marble" view of Earth looks to be centered on Asia.
  • Inverted in Power Rangers (Mighty Morphin and Zeo) where it is always pointed at Japan, because...
  • Lexx introduces the Earth by showing Newfoundland
  • Real Life:
    • Almost every map or globe ever made shows Northern Hemisphere Bias. There is no reason that maps shouldn't show South as "up" or globes shouldn't be mounted with the South Pole as the one on top, but the bulk of the Earth's landmass and the vast majority of its people are in the Northern Hemisphere so North is always "up". The Other Wiki has an article on "reversed map" that discusses this.
    • Even the "Blue Marble" photo, mentioned above as an exception to hemisphere bias, is actually an example of Northern Hemisphere Bias. When the photo was taken, the camera was oriented in such a position that north is on the bottom of the photo and south was on the top. When the photo is published it is always flipped around so that north is on top and south is on the bottom.
    • During the Cold War, in a rare meeting between senior military commanders from East and West, the Russian general politely looked at an American map showing the world from the usual Western perspective (ie, centred on the Greenwich Meridian) This of course conditions Americans to see Russia as being a long way away. He then led his American counterpart to a room where a large map was pinned on the wall showing the world centred on Moscow. He politely explained that from this angle, Russia was surrounded by potential enemies - Western Europe, Turkey, Israel, China, Japan, and this rather large North American landmass just on the other side of the North Pole from us - not far away at all in global terms. Now do you see why we feel the need for very large military forces? The American general studied the map of the world as Russians see it, and agreed he could see the other point of view.

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