Weird Moon

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_soul-eater-moon-925584_849.jpg

"All right, this is just getting ridiculous. Is the Moon just larger in Japan?"

The Moon. Our planet's only natural companion, the brightest object in the night sky; worshipped as a deity by countless cultures; inspiration of poets, lovers, lunatics, and werewolves.

Depictions of the moon in fiction vary, and it can behave rather ... oddly.

Size and shape

  • The crescent moon is often depicted in a stylized, unrealistic manner with the horns of the crescent extending an average of three-quarters of a circle. (In Real Life, they always end at opposite ends of a diameter). Likewise, the inner (dark) part of the crescent is often circular in shape (which in Real Life only occurs if something eclipses the moon). The crescent can sometimes point incorrectly for the hemisphere it's observed from, i.e. contrary to the position of the sun.
  • There can be objects (such as stars) visible inside the crescent; in Real Life this can only occur if there's something on the moon's surface emitting light, or if something else is between the moon and viewer. Or, you know, if something shot a huge chunk out of it. If the characters actually realize this, it usually becomes an important plot point.

Lunar phases

  • The moon is never shown during its "gibbous" (more than half-full) phase, and rarely shown in its "half" phase — it's always either a crescent moon or full moon. The only times these other phases are shown is if the lunar cycle plays an actual role in the setting (e.g. a gameplay mechanic in Video Games), and even then these other phases are little more than lead-up to the next full moon. In video games, it's also possible for new moon can go to a quarter moon with one night.
  • The "points" of the crescent moon are often seen pointing down. (In Real Life, this happens only during daytime)

Eclipses and phenomena

  • Presuming the moon and the atmosphere are even vaguely like Earth's, no part of the moon can be darker than the surrounding sky. (The sky is light-blue-in-front-of-black-space; therefore even the blackest parts of the moon will be light-blue-in-front-of-black-moon.)

Subtropes

For more on eclipses, see Total Eclipse of the Plot.

For weird moons caused by artistic stylization, see Artsy Moon. If the moon has actually been physically altered to change its appearance, it's Deface of the Moon. When the moon alters others comedically, see Moonburn. See also Weird Sun, The Stars Are Going Out, Alien Sky.

Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Moon from Soul Eater is huge, bright yellow, a perpetual crescent, wears a Slasher Smile and drools blood. Some clouds are behind it. And don't think that the sky is any better during the day either.
    • And one can apparently walk about on it without being affected by gravity changes or the need for any protective/breathing gear whatsoever.
    • The nostrils of the nose are actually caves that you can go into and explore.
    • Did we mention the breathable atmosphere? Because it's inside ours? And reachable by magic blimp? It also lost a tooth.
    • By the manga's end, it ends up even weirder: the covering of Black Blood used to seal Asura, which engulfs all of the surface but the moon's eye and takes a spherical shape, has resulted in the moon constantly having the appearance of an enormous disembodied breast!
  • This happens a lot in Neon Genesis Evangelion, due to the symbolic weight the moon holds within the series:
    • In Rebuild of Evangelion, the moon has a visible splatter of blood on it (perhaps a Shout-Out to the fate of the moon during End of Evangelion), as well as a row of large coffins on its surface, from one of which Kaworu rises at the end of 1.0, perhaps suggesting these contain the Angels.
    • In End of Evangelion it also seems to be unnaturally close to Earth in the scenes where giant Rei looms over the planet with the Moon right above her. Though considering the measurements given slightly earlier, it seems that the animators overestimated Earth's relative size as far larger than it actually is, rather than the distance between the two bodies.
    • In Rebuild of Evangelion 3.33, the Moon has undergone some truly drastic changes: it's much closer to Earth (yet somehow still in a stable orbit), it's rotating at an unbelievably quick rate, there are large blood splotches that weren't there in earlier movies, there's a bizarre red grid pattern across the whole thing, and it appears to have an atmosphere. No explanation for any of this has been offered, although it's clear that Third Impact was probably the thing that altered it.
  • In Bleach, Kubo Tite seems to like drawing crescent moons by the tried and true method of drawing a dark circle touching a bigger white circle from the inside.
  • The moon in ef: A Tale of Memories has the points of the crescent meet at one end, which is impossible—and then there are the scenes where it seems to be a two-dimensional object glued to the night sky.
  • In Gankutsuou, the surface of the moon resembles a huge and ominous skull. Strangely enough, no-one ever wonders about it (though seeing the wealth and weird tastes of the upper classes, it's entirely possible that the moon was deliberately modified to look like this from the Earth). More curiously, it looks the same no matter what angle it's being viewed from; the same skull appears in scenes that feature Earth and the moon together, even though what we see ought to be the dark side.
  • The last scene of Madlax has two moons, one red and one blue, overlapping each other; this is symbolic of either Margaret and Madlax, Madlax and Limelda, or Limelda and Vanessa (the finale is...complicated).
    • Throughout the series, the moon is either red or blue, and in one case two characters simultaneously see it as different colours. In the Sanctuary, there are always two moons (one red, one blue).
  • For examples of the over-extended crescent, look no further than Sailor Moon.
  • While Sailor Moon Crystal tends to follow the lead of its franchise predecessors, the series logo features a yellow, stylized overextended crescent as a background element, and a white one as the "C" in "Crystal."
  • Animation studio Bee Train has a particular affinity for weird moons. As mentioned above in Madlax they have used the moon many more times in different series.
    • .hack//SIGN: Acceptable giving the series takes place majorly in a virtual world.
    • Avenger: The abnormally large red Moon that can be seen from Mars is actually the same Moon that once normally existed exclusively as planet Earth's only natural satellite. After the natural catastrophe that took place on Earth, the Moon's orbital trajectory was deeply affected due too an excessive approximation between Earth and Mars. Consequently, the Moon now plays an important role in the gravitational field between both planets. The drastic approximation between the Moon and planet Mars often originates Lunar Storms, a phenomenon created by a large fluctuation affecting the surface of Mars, which is one of the main reasons why life outside Dome Cities is considered very harsh to a normal human being. The Moon is especially red in color probably due to the excessive proximity to Mars' atmosphere, therefore reflecting the dominant tonality on the planet's surface.
    • Continuing with the red weirdness trend their anime adaptation of Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- the moon turns red during the Ashura Country Arc which is where an other clan's base is also stationed. Taking place in an alternate universe also acceptable break from reality
    • Murder Princess also features a red moon in the opening titles. The moon is also lush and full a great majority of the time.
  • A chapter of Naruto, in what's probably an art error rather than deliberate liberty, had a moon that appeared to have part of a cloud behind it.
    • It was also said in legend that the Rikudo Sage created the Moon by catching the Juubi's corpse inside a large Chibaku Tensei before tossing the earthen ball to the sky.
  • In 3-gatsu no Lion, a crescent moon with over-extended horns serve as the backdrop for one of Rei's flashbacks. Specifically, it serves as Gotou's backdrop to emphasis his maliciousness as he beats up Rei.
  • Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water episode 26 (in the middle of the series' notorious Filler arc) has a crescent moon, which is then seen through a telescope as a gibbous moon, then seen outside the telescope as a gibbous moon. (The dark part is also visible on the lower left in the telescope and on the upper right outside, but that is correct since telescopes typically invert the image.) The story claims that the moon seems to move because of the rotation of the Earth, which is true, but the display shows moving stars; motion relative to the stars is caused only by the moon's own motion in its orbit, not by the rotation of the Earth, and would be too slow to see. Moreover, the stars are visible inside the dark part of the moon.
  • At the end of Patema Inverted the moon can be seen with a ring of orbital debris, likely from the gravity experiment in the back-story.
  • The Moon in Assassination Classroom is always a crescent, with the overly long horns nearly touching each other. It's as if someone's taken out a large chunk of it, because it is; Koro-sensei blew up 70% of the Moon in the beginning, making it a permanent crescent.
    • In the epilogue, the crescent Moon collapses due to gravity and becomes closer to Earth, eventually reforming into the size and shape prior to the explosion.

    Comic Books 
  • Comes up, in a way, in Darklighter, the four-issue series about Biggs Darklighter. When Biggs graduates from the Imperial pilot's academy, his class gets a speech from Grand Moff Tarkin. Tarkin drops intensely unsubtle hints about the Empire being close to possessing great power - world-shattering power, you could say! "Never again will a citizen of this galaxy watch a moonrise in quite the same way. He will stare at that moon - if such it is - and remember that the Empire is truly in control."
    • The new pilots lounge around trying to make sense of that, and one of them tells a story about a man who had tunnels mined out on his world's moon, and they formed a drawing of his face. Then Biggs speculates that "world-shattering" was literal, but something that could do that would have to be moon-sized itself... Then Hobbie Klivian walks in, subtexts with Biggs a bit, and says that they're calling it the Death Star.
  • During DC Comics' Final Night event, the sun temporarily went out. Many artists working on the event put a visible moon in the sky. The moon doesn't glow on its own, it reflects sunlight.
  • In Zot!, "Ring in the New", issue 27, the characters go outside just before midnight on New Year's Eve to see the "Big Clock". "Up there." "Oh, I see it ... Hey! That's the Moon!!" "Yeah. Zot say it's all done with lasers here on Earth." It is a couple of days past new (a thin crescent) and has a lit clockface. This Is Wrong on So Many Levels. A moon so close to new would set an hour or two after sunset, so it wouldn't be visible near local midnight. On a spherical Earth, the clock's time would be correct for only one out of the 12 or so time zones that could see it. It would take very powerful lasers to have a display that could compete with the sunlight of the crescent.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW) has the ponies travel to the moon by lassoing it and dragging it closer to earth.
  • In Secret Wars (2015), Battleworld's moon is Knowhere, the severed head of a Celestial.

     Film - Animated 
  • In the Beethoven's Sixth Symphony portion of Fantasia, the crescent moon is used as a bow to fire off a star that lights the other stars in the sky.
    • Justified in that the setting is mythological.
    • The final section of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring segment is sandwiched between the formation of a total solar eclipse.
  • Lampshaded in Disney's Treasure Planet, where the crescent "moon" hanging in the sky turns out to be, on closer examination, an actual crescent-shaped celestial body, covered in stardocks and buildings.
  • In Coraline, the Other World moon is slowly being covered by the shadow of a button. When all of it is covered, everything outside the house disappears.
  • Near the end of Finding Nemo, during the scene where the whale drops off Marlin and Dory at Sydney, Australia, when we see the whale swimming away, if you look very closely you can easily tell that the Moon appears as it would in a northern-hemisphere sky: Tycho (the large crater on the Moon's southern hemisphere) is facing downwards. In a southern-hemisphere sky, Tycho should be facing up.
    • In another Pixar movie, Cars, the maria on the Moon are shaped like a car's headlights and grille, and its craters are shaped like tires.

    Film - Live Action 
  • The DreamWorks logo features a boy fishing while sitting in a crescent moon.
  • Star Wars: A New Hope has the Death Star. That's No Moon!, it's a giant armored battle station.
  • Subverted in the film Bruce Almighty, where Bruce "pulls" the moon with a divine "snare" to provide just the right setting for his romantic night. Later, we find that the sudden change in the gravitational pull of the moon caused floods in Japan.
  • Justified in The Truman Show because the moon is fake.
  • In Titan A.E., the protagonists visit a planet whose moon is split in half. Almost completely in half. And it has neither crumbled nor been pulled back together by gravity. Oh, and it's a plot point. It is cool, though.
  • In The Return of Hanuman, the moon is not shaped like a ball, but rather a crescent. Hanuman even pulls one of its edges, using it as a flashlight due to the moon's brightness.
  • Alice in Wonderland (2010): The moon becomes the Cheshire Cat's grin.
  • Averted in The Wolfman (2010): The time between each transformation is roughly 28 days apart.

    Literature 
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels:
    • "Stars" within the dark half are justified; they're the light of Moon Dragons jetting about.
    • In Soul Music there's a half moon and the text describes this as "the most magical phase" even if it doesn't appear in romantic or occult pictures.
  • In N. K. Stouffer's The Legend of Rah and the Muggles, the Moon shines through a cloud of nuclear fallout that's impenetrable to sunlight.
  • The Dragonlance universe has three moons, Solinari, Lunitari, and Nuitari, which are white, red, and black, corresponding with the colors of good, neutral, and evil magic in the world. Nuitari is a particularly weird moon because only evil mages can see it, except when Nuitari passes in front of one or both of the other moons; also, Nuitari's position can be inferred when it blocks any of the stars.
    • And when all three moons are aligned, they appear as a big, red-irised eye in the sky. Rest assured, that will be a memorable night.
  • In Perdido Street Station and its sequels, the moon is described as having two smaller moons orbiting it.
  • In The Book of the New Sun, the moon is green, probably as a result of terraforming.
  • In Larry Niven's Inconstant Moon the moon is shining unusually brightly. Most people who notice think that it's quite beautiful. The hero realizes that it means that the sun has gone nova, and this is going to be his last night on Earth. It turns out he's not quite right. The sun has just thrown off an unusually bright flare, which has killed off everyone on the other side of the Earth, but it's subsided by sunrise over California.
  • In the world of Goblin Moon, the moon's highly-elliptical orbit brings it alarmingly close to the planet when it's full, causing monthly cycles of ground tremors and extreme tides. The novel's title is a reference to an old myth which personified the moon as a shapechanging female deity, who became harsh and ugly when full.
  • In The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge refers to "the hornèd moon with one bright star within the nether tip." It's considered not a mistake by the author but a way to show a physical manifestation of the unnaturalness that results from the slaying of an innocent bird. Isaac Asimov comments on such as well in one of his essays (found in Gold, one of his collections).
  • In Cordwainer Smith's posthumous story "Down to a Sunless Sea"note  the action takes place on a planet that has no sun but is illuminated by moonlight. So what do the moons shine by?
  • The Dreaming Moon in the Dreamblood Duology. Word of God says it's actually a gas giant and the story's world is on one of the planet's moons. The Waking Moon is also another of the planet's moons.
  • In Everworld, one of the viewpoint characters notes that Everworld's moon seems somewhat bigger than the one in our world.

    Live Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The episode "What's My Line" features a vampiric ritual that needs to be performed on the night of a new moon. Spike gets ready to start the ritual when "the moon is rising" — which really ought to be around dawn. The script writer goofed and forgot what they'd said earlier: the ritual has to take place during the full moon.
  • The Mighty Boosh features the Moon as a character who provides monologues to break up the segments of the show. It's fond of astronomical jokes; it's implied there that there are several moons, with him being the full one.
    • Whether or not that's true is debatable, given that the Moon is the biggest Cloudcuckoolander in the series (in more ways than just size).
      "When you are the moon, the best form you can be is a full moon. And then the half moon... he's all right. But the full moon is the famous moon. And then three-quarters, eh, no one gives a shit about him. When does he come? two days in to the calendar month? He's useless..."
  • The 2007 premiere of Smallville showed a half moon with the lit part on the top in the nighttime, as well as having the moon be seen by people in Kansas and China at the same time in the same position in the sky, thus getting it wrong in two ways at once. Smallville also likes to show the moon in the north - which would work if Smallville was located on the southern hemisphere.
  • In the 90's The Tonight Show With Jay Leno had skits with Jay playing characters like Beyondo, Iron Jay, Billy Tuttle and Mr Brain - one of the characters was Evil Jay - Jay's evil twin who appeared at every full moon.
  • Back in the 90's, in one of the comic relief soap operas played by Globo, there was a mystic event day in which there would be two giant moons in the sky.
  • Gilligan's Island episode "Ship Ahoax". When Ginger tells Gilligan's fortune, she says to look for a ship when "the moon is blue". Sure enough, that night the moon is colored blue and a ship passes by the island.

    Music 
  • From Winter's Night by the German folk singer Joran Elane:
    To meadows calm under three moons (...)
    Follow her now
    Towards the moons

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • The plane of Mirrodin has four moons, one for each color of magic except green. During the Convergence, each one hangs right over the appropriate section of the plane, too. During the day. It helps that Mirrodin has no sun, either. And then there's the Fifth Dawn.
    • On Mirrodin, the terms "Moon" and "Sun" are used interchangeably, and with good reason. Though they orbit around the planet like moons, they are made of flaming balls of magic and supply the primary light source like suns. Oh, and the "stars" in Mirrodins sky are actually insects. That make rain. Mirrodin is not so much an example of a Weird Moon and more a Weird Cosmos that happens to contain moons.
    • The game itself also includes the cards Blood Moon, Pale Moon, Chaos Moon, and Bad Moon.
    • Dominaria, the primary setting, used to have two moons: the Mist Moon, which has an atmosphere (hence the mist) and Griffins (among other things) living on it, and the Null Moon, also known as the Glimmer Moon, which is a space station and was destroyed in the Apocalypse.
    • The moon of Innistrad is made out of a material that can be used to bind powerful entities. This came in handy for Sorin Markov and the Church of Avacyn, since it allowed the construction of the Helvault, which was The Can for a whole bunch of demons until Liliana had it destroyed during Dark Ascension. When Emrakul hit Innistrad during Eldritch Moon, the Eldritch Abomination ended up trapped within the moon proper.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Eberron campaign setting has twelve moons — and a missing thirteenth moon, as well (one of the setting motifs being baker's dozens missing the thirteenth element). One starts to wonder what kind of influence all those moons had on Eberron's lycanthropes and if they're the cause of the violent frenzies that led the Church of the Silver Flame to hunt the lycanthropes into near-extinction. On the plus side, this made life easier for DMs whose players try and seek out were-creatures to get infected. One Will save a month to avoid the alignment change is easy. One every two days is a much better deterrent.
    • Some domains in the Ravenloft setting provide examples of this trope, such as Sithicus, where a moon similar to Krynn's Nuitari (see above, under Literature) is the only one in the sky. Nova Vaasa was once stated to have five moons.
    • Selûnenote , the moon of the Forgotten Realms planet Toril, is trailed by a cluster of small asteroids commonly called Selûne's Tears (a fitting name, since as it turns out they were blown out from the moon during a long-ago attempt to destroy a Comet of Doom).
    • The moon in DragonMech is populated by hideous monsters and Eldritch Abominations, and it's coming for you.
  • In the Warhammer Fantasy world, there are multiple moons. One of these (Morrslieb) is made up of warpstone, this setting's form of glowy green rock. Warpstone is solidified magic from the Realm of Chaos and can mutate anything it touches, generally in a bad way. Morrslieb affects the flows of magic, occasionally sends down warpstone meteorites, and has a (seemingly) randomly changing orbital period (and hence the length of each month as judge by that moon varies massively). On one night each yearnote , both Morrslieb and Mannslieb (the largest, normal moon) are full. On this night the dead are restless, and demons find it easier to break out of the Realm of Chaos.
  • In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, the Gaia Garou revere Luna, and the phase of the moon at the time of a Garou's birth determines auspice (the Garou's role in supernatural society). You can visit the Umbral version of the moon, and it's required if you want to get your hands on some Moonsilver, a metal with all the powers of silver to effect shape-changers, with none of the Gnosis-losing drawbacs. It also used to have life, until the Weaver sterilized it.
  • In Pathfinder, Golarion's moon has a large forest created by a natural disaster, known as the Moonscar. It's full of demons. Then there's the moon that hangs over the Boneyard, the place souls gather before being judged and going to their final reward. Said moon is actually Groetus, god of the apocalypse.

    Video Games 
  • In the Marathon 'verse, Mars has been inhabited by humanity. The title of the game is the name of the ship the first game takes place on, which is a hollowed out Deimos. The Player also lands on Lh'owon's moon, which has... Well... Really freakin' weird terrain.
  • In Animal Crossing: Wild World for the DS, the moon looks normal enough, but unlike the real thing, it rises and sets at the exact same time each day (with moonrise being early in the evening and moonset being after midnight (this is related to the confusion of moonrise and sunset mentioned near the top of the page)). Solar and lunar eclipses are unheard of in the game (the former because the sun is never visible on the game). This does not apply to the original Animal Crossing, because the sky wasn't visible in that game (it featured a top-down view like that of a 2D RPG). This does, however, apply to Animal Crossing: City Folk for the Wii.
  • The Moon seen in the background of Blinx the Time Sweeper is missing a huge chunk, making it a literal crescent shape.
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night:
    • In Symphony of the Night], SotN's moon appears crescent when viewed from the clock tower, full when viewed from the outer wall and Olrox's quarters, and full with a blood red tint when viewed from the castle keep. In all but Olrox's quarters, the moon is also terrifyingly HUGE. And yet, all of these locations are a short walk from each other, with the outer wall, clock tower, and castle keep all being right next door.
    • And in Aria of Sorrow, the full moon is clearly visible... from a castle sealed inside of the moon during a lunar eclipse.
  • The moon in 11eyes is pitch black in color, which stands out against the blood red sky. It's also ominously huge, staring down on the city like some sort of eye.
  • In Final Fantasy VIII, monsters originate from the moon via a process known as the "Lunar Cry." In addition, the moon is enormous, occupying a significant portion of the sky.
    • The moon in Final Fantasy XI changes color depending on the day of the week. It does go through the full set of phases, though - despite always being in opposition to the sun.
    • There are two moons in Final Fantasy IV. The smaller one, the Red Moon, is the interstellar vehicle of the Lunarians, who travel the cosmos seeking for a new home. The larger one is completely lifeless. And then there's True Moon, which appears in Final Fantasy IV: The After Years and houses the Creator, who seeded the worlds with Crystals to make life flourish.
    • A minor visual effect in the ending of Dissidia: Final Fantasy has the moon progress rapidly from new moon to full moon, in broad daylight.
  • In I Wanna Be the Guy, the moon falls on you multiple times.
    • And signals the arrival of a witch about to crash into you, and is one of Dracula's attacks. The moon is never a good sign in this game.
  • Kingdom Hearts has a heart-shaped moon on its cover, though this was originally just a stylistic effect; it didn't appear in the actual game until the final level of Kingdom Hearts II. Said moon also happens to be the titular Kingdom Hearts, the heart of all worlds in the series's universe, and the MacGuffin that the villains are trying to claim for their own purposes.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has two moons, Grimace and Ronald. Well, it used to. Some years back, a comet hit and removed a chuck off of Grimace, which is now mini-moon named Hamburglar.
    • Interestingly, if you look out the window while inside Spookyraven Manor, the night sky is dramatically different, with strange new constellations and a single moon, implied to be more closely based on the real-life night sky.
  • The world of Klonoa: Empire of Dreams has a crescent moon with a smaller full moon inside it.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The main plot of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask revolves around the moon and the fact that it is going to crash into the landscape in three days. It also grew a face, and ''cries rocks''. At the end of the game, you travel inside the moon and find that it contains a field with a Tree in the middle. It also hovers directly overhead for three days straight, and when it finally crashes, it's not all that big to be a moon. Whether it moved across the sky before the events in the game is unclear.
  • In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, there are moons that are chained to the planet Bryyo's surface. With actual chains. Granted, the moons may actually be pieces of the planet that is starting to break apart. In Bryyo's defense, the Reptilicus are/were capable of using magic, which would explain a number of oddities seen on the planet... Also, Metroid in general seems to have magic.
  • The moon in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is a strange one. While it looks pretty normal from Earth, there's a canyon running along the length of it and it revolves in about a minute.
  • The moon of the Space Zone in Super Mario Land 2. Not only is it very much huge in the sky, and a pretty exaggerated crescent moon, it's apparently floating just above the ocean on the world map, and changes facial expression when a star smashes into its face.
  • In Super Mario Galaxy, the Sand Spiral Galaxy has a moon as part of the level (with the end star on it), and in a rather blatant failing of physics, generates LIGHT.
    • In Super Mario Galaxy 2, there is the Boo Moon Galaxy. Mario lands on the (rather nearby and small) crescent moon, where it tilts left and right due to his weight.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, the "moon" is called Kagutsuchi, and it functions as the Sun of the Vortex World, but it still has waxing and waning phases and can send demons berserk when full.
  • In Persona 3, the Moon is transmogrifies during the Dark Hour into the physical shell of Nyx, personification of Death and the Bringer of The Fall. Upon Nyx's departure, Tartarus is sucked back into it, the Dark Hour ends, and the Moon sleeps once more.
  • Skies of Arcadia has six moons, each in a geostationary orbit over a different part of the planet. They're pretty evenly spread, despite the fact that a geostationary orbit requires the object to be directly above the planet's equator. (Though it's debatable whether Arcadia even has an equator, being doughnut-shaped...)
    • As an added bonus, the moons supply Arcadia with Moon Stones, which are the foundation of all magic and technology on the planet - each moon provides magic governing a different element, so they're Color-Coded for Your Convenience.
    • There are even hints of a 7th moon. The evidence is inside the Dark Rift: a large number of black moonstones.
  • The Dig: The planet Cocytus has 2 moons (actually the smaller one is a satellite of the larger). In one puzzle, the protagonist discovers a planetarium-orrery with models of the planet and its moons, and by moving the models he makes the real moons move to create an eclipse. This is never explained but then again, we are talking about Sufficiently Advanced Aliens.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The series has the twin moons Masser and Secunda. They are not typical sub-planetoids, but are in fact said to be the decaying remains of the long-dead creator god, Lorkhan, symbolizing how he was sundered during the creation of Nirn. They, like the rest of the cosmos in the ''Elder Scrolls' series, are implied to look like as they do because it is the best our mortal minds can do to interpret it. The two moons go through technically impossible phases and are unaffected by the series' occasional Reality Warping Time Crashes, which allow their cycles to be used to determine the passage of time when linear time is otherwise not applying.
    • In Morrowind, the Ministry of Truth is actually the "rogue moon" Baar Dau. It was hurled in the distant past by the Mad God Sheogorath at Physical God Vivec's new Egopolis. Vivec used his powers to freeze it in place above the city, where it was hollowed out to create the Ministry of Truth, the Tribunal Temple's high security prison. Due in no small part to the player's actions during the game, Vivec disappears a few years later and, after some temporary measures fail, the moon resumes its crash into Vivec city with its original momentum.
    • During the 200 years between Oblivion and Skyrim, both Masser and Secunda disappeared from the sky for two whole years, driving Khajiit society into disarray as many aspects of their culture revolve around their worship. When the Thalmor claimed to have used their magics to return the moons, it won them great affection from the Khajiit, who soon joined the Aldmeri Dominion as a vassal nation.
  • Touhou offers a subversion: a Lunar civilization of long-lived Earth humans living completely unknown to humans on the Earth (supposedly; the backstory is fuzzy around the time of the Apollo moon landings). To conceal themselves, the Lunarians erected a great (dimensional) Border around the moon, much like the Border surrounding Gensokyo. The internal region hidden by this Border provides oxygen, plant life, and oceans for what is dubbed the Lunar Capital; to us: the moon we see at night.
    • Travel to and from the moon only works consistently on nights of the full moon, which allows for a perfect connection. In Imperishable Night, the Lunar refugees in Eientei have interrupted the full moon with the image of a gibbous moon to make it impossible for emissaries from the moon to come to Earth after them.
  • The map Doublecross on Team Fortress 2 inexplicably had 5 moons in the skybox until an update removed them.
  • The Blue Moon in Dark Cloud 2 is, in reality, the Star of Destruction created by the Ancients so that it would fall upon the world and destroy everything in case anyone ever collected all three Atlamillia and assumed godlike power. In fact, in the American release of the game, that's the Star doing its thing in the logo.
  • In Luigi's Mansion, there's a section where Luigi visits an observatory. As he explores, the wall of the room is destroyed, revealing the night sky with a spherical moon. Until Luigi has to fire a shooting star at it and walk along a path of light to the resulting hemisphere.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • There used to be a second, smaller (and blue) moon, but it vanished from the sky when the first expansion came out. It still appears in fiction, but not in-game.
    • The Blue Child returned in the expansion Mists of Pandaria, and the two moons tend to alternate appearances in the sky.
  • In Mabinogi there is the white moon Ladeca, but there's also a smaller pink one called Eweca, which radiates all of Erinn's mana.
  • In Sengoku Basara 3, when Kanbe takes the castle the moon turns yellow but doesn't decrease in size. At the Kanegasaki Siege it's much smaller, but still unrealistic, and coloured blood red with a strange aura, impending Nobunaga's resurrection.
  • The Moon in Minecraft always comes up when the Sun goes down. It's also square-shaped and rather large.
    • It now has phases, which show round sections of shadow moving across it. The one exception is the new moon, where only the outermost edge is visible - and about half as bright as on a full moon. It was round for a short time (during a pre-release update). Despite having phases, it still is always at the opposite side of the Sun.
  • The moon of Tau Volantis in Dead Space 3 looks like it had a huge chunk of it torn away somehow. Turns out it wasn't broken it's incomplete. It's really a huge Necromorph called a Brother Moon whose growth was interrupted long ago by the natives of Tau Volantis' Codex. Right before it was forced into hibernation, the Brother Moon sent the Black Marker into human space, making it the Big Bad of the entire series up to this point.
  • Kerbal Space Program has Kerbin and the Mun, which are the game's analogues of Earth and the Moon. But then there's Minmus, Kerbin's other moon, which fits this trope. While Earth has various objects orbiting it other than the Moon, these objects tend to be temporary (see the real-life section below). Minmus, however, appears to be permanent, and apparently doesn't make a whole lot of scientific sense. It's teal and apparently icy, which would be impossible for such a tiny object that orbits the fictional equivalent of Earth (which has enough gravity to keep ice on its surface and in its atmosphere, but is otherwise well within the "Frost line" of the solar system). The fandom's best guess is that it's a captured comet whose albedo is just high enough to prevent it melting. An honourable mention also goes to Laythe, a moon of the gas giant Jool, which has liquid water and an oxygen-bearing atmosphere despite being well outside the Goldilocks Zone for either.
  • Mira in Xenoblade Chronicles X has 5 moons, all but one of which are absolutely massive with the largest dominating the eastern night sky. They're each different colours, don't have phases, don't move in the sky and stars can be seen through them.
  • Golden Sun: The moon is said to be an Advanced Ancient Acropolis that lifted off one day into the sky, a great big crater being offered as proof the city once existed (the world of Weyard is flat, presumably the moon is as well, despite having phases and causing eclipses).
  • The moon of the Plane of Water in Rift appears to be a colossal seashell. It's actually Draum, the primordial God of Water, who dreamed the entire Plane into existence. And he's starting to wake up.

    Web Comic 
  • From The Order of the Stick, we get this. Rich Burlew responds to rampant speculation that this is an eclipse with "I love how it never crosses anyone's mind that the author may know less about astronomy than they do. I WENT TO ART SCHOOL, OK?"
  • Soul Symphony: The moon in Olivia's Soul World, where it is always night time, is the source of all energy and life. Supplies strange powers and mutations for Olivia's sidekick. Not only that, but it appears to be permanently crescent because a majority of it actually exploded.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court has a scene where Coyote apparently pulls the moon from the sky, shrinking it down to about the size of a ping-pong ball in the process, and allows Annie to poke it. Since Coyote is a trickster god, Annie wonders if it's an illusion, but later on Kat discovers a fingerprint which has mysteriously appeared on the moon's surface.
  • xkcd #1738 addresses how artistic (mis)representations of the moon might be plausible. Usually eclipses, although the crescent showing lights in the dark part is "there's either a hole in the moon or a nuclear war on its surface."

    Web Original 
  • One of the Running Gags on the series Unskippable lampshades this in several games: to date, Final Fantasy VII Dirge Of Cerebus, Digital Devil Saga, and (as seen in the page quote) Onimusha 3: Demon Siege.
    I've got my eye on you, Moon.
    Dammit Moon, I knew you were up to no good.
  • A few variations in Homestuck: Prospit and Derse have moons chained to their surfaces, and the trolls' homeworld Alternia has two moons, a huge green one and a smaller pink one with a tiny moon of its own. Its eventually revealed that the green one isn't natural, and is only there because of Doc Scratch.
  • In Homestar Runner, the Moon is shaped like an octagon.
  • On Cerberus Daily News the logo for media conglomerate DDS is a krogan face superimposed over a moon.
  • The moon in Artists At The Ready has a castle built on it that's easily visible from other worlds. It's also permanently crescent-shaped, and appears to be shackled to the ground.
  • Remnant in RWBY has a broken moon! Being broken causes the moon to appear in one of two forms: full moon and full moon with a giant section bitten out of it, implying that the moon's revolution differs from Earth's moon. The moon does not appear to go through phases like our moon, either; it is always seen in a full glow, which only adds to how weird Remnant is compared to Earth.

    Western Animation 
  • Many cartoons show visible stars within a crescent moon.
    • One classic modification is in George Herriman's Krazy Kat. Often, the moon would be not just shown as a crescent, but as a slice of itself—with curvature, implying that most of the moon had been hacked away. Since Krazy Kat ended its run in the 1940s.
    • This may be excused if circumstances have caused a huge chunk to have been taken out of the moon anyway. The problems this would cause for tides or the integrity of the remaining bits of the moon seem to rarely be addressed.
  • Beast Wars: There were two moons revolving around the planet. Only, by the end of season 1, we discover that one of the moons wasn't really a moon, but was in fact an artificial satellite (and Phlebotinum Bomb) planted there by an alien race in their research on the planet.
    • It's how they figure out that something on this planet is seriously messed up, as the second moon has far too little mass for a satellite of its size.
    • It also hid the fact that the planet they were on was Earth. When season 2 starts and only the actual moon remains, Dinobot and Waspinator realizes that Megatron had led them to the correct planet after all.
    • Also, apparently the waves from the destruction of the artificial satellite bombarded the moon with craters, making it resemble the moon as it is now.
  • In the Ni Hao, Kai-Lan episode "Kai-lan's Moon Festival", a cloud conveniently (to the plot) blocks the moon and only the moon. The stars can still be seen in the sky.
  • Lampshaded in Futurama "Kif gets Knocked Up a Notch", when Kif Kroker constructs a romantic HoloShed night scene for Amy complete with impossibly large moon. "And I would pluck the moon from the sky, just to see you smile," and then he does. Later it even saves them during the Holodeck Malfunction when it plugs a hole in the hull.
  • Fanboy and Chum Chum. For the most blatant example, in "Fanboy in the Plastic Bubble" the titular bubble is popped by the crescent moon.
  • Ren and Stimpy are stranded on a remote planet in one of the space episodes. Ren goes to bed but Stimpy implores him to go outside and look at the moon. Ren goes back outside grumbling about what's so special about it and cracks his head on it. It's about two yards above the surface and things just get weirder from there.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has two princesses, one who raises the sun in the day and one who raises the moon at night. This means that Equestria is some strange place where the moon only comes out at night. This means the sun and moon must always be on opposite sides of the planet.
    • The moon also used to have visible craters forming the shape of a unicorn's head: the "Mare in the Moon". This disappeared when Nightmare Moon was freed from her exile there.
    • Also, there is crescent moon imagery. If the sun and moon are always opposite, the moon should always be full.
    • The moon also isn't in orbit during the day (behind the planet or otherwise) as Luna raises it every evening and puts it down by dawn, then sleeps most of the day - implying that she tucks it away somewhere when it isn't in use. Celestia does roughly the same with the sun.
    • Then in "Twilight's Kingdom", Twilight gets tasked with managing the sun and moon, and this happens.
    • The episode "Princess Twilight Sparkle" has a period where both Celestia and Luna are captured by chaotic vines, that Discord definitely had nothing to do with, and with out their control of the sun and moon it becomes day and night at the same time. Nevermind that in such a thing, the moon should not be shining brightly, nor should half the sky be day and half the sky night.
  • In the Pixar shorts La Luna, the Moon is revealed to only be about 50 feet up, and it doesn't really have phases. Instead, it's a dark sphere covered in small glowing stars. The characters have to head up to it and sweep a portion of them into craters to give it its trademark crescent shape.
  • In the Cartoon! segments of The Aquabats! Super Show!, the moon is apparently a vessel, piloted by a villain named Moon Cheese. There is also a cavern at the center containing a massive lake housing an underwater kingdom.
  • On Sheriff Callie's Wild West, the moon is close enough to be roped with a lasso, although admittedly one with special powers. This was done to try to bring back the night after the Weird Sun was roped, but it only ended up melting the blue cheese moon.
  • The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack has entire episode {"Over the Moon") devoted to this trope. When Flapjack and Captain K'nuckles are stranded on the moon after getting chased by Eight-Armed Willy, they discover that it could lead them to Candied Island. All they need to do is trick the moon (who, they discovered, has a mind of its own) into taking them there. K'nuckles declares himself 'Moon King' and orders the moon to move closer to Earth, which has disastrous consequences. Poseidon, who is the real ruler of the moon, turns up to kick Flapjack and K'nuckles off and order the moon back to were it's supposed to be.
  • In 3-2-1 Penguins!, Tell-a-Lie's moon is controlled by the planet instead of its own. When it is on its own, it'll crash down if anyone lies.

    Other 
  • There's a BBC ident (the short clip or animation that's playing while a voice announces what's coming up now or later) with people driving their boats over a lake, each one carrying a piece of the moon. Then they put it together and we see a big (ridiculously big) moon hovering over the lake as it turn into the BBC logo.
  • The Animusic video Resonant Chamber features four moons in the sky, each a different phase. Given that the video also features a self-playing conglomeration of different string instruments that may make arachnophobes uncomfortable, this can be safely filed under Rule of Cool.
  • Lots of science fiction shows like to illustrate that a planet is alien by having multiple moons and really big moons, even if they seem too close to exist without tearing the planet apart from tidal forces, or indeed (in the case of Vulcan from Star Trek) when the planet has previously been stated to have no moons. Also, fantasy often invokes the "many moons" trope, albeit with less attention to details like tidal effects since A Wizard Did It.
  • A crescent with a star inside its horns is a famous symbol of Islam and appears on the flags of many majority-Muslim countries. In most cases, the horns are over-long, as well. All this impossibility is justified, inasmuch as the symbol alludes to the possibility of miracles (a key point for any self-respecting Abrahamic religion).
  • The recapper for Hell's Kitchen at Television Without Pity has noted that the series repeatedly features shots of a full moon when it cannot possibly be a full moon the entire time throughout the series run. Sometimes, a crescent moon is thrown in, apparently just for kicks.
  • Yes it's surreal, but Van Gogh's "Starry Night" has the crescent extending too far around the moon's surface.
  • A particularly common goof in scenes with a full Moon, that have been retouched by one reason or another by adding it, is to use this image instead of this other. The latter is the Moon seen from Earth... but the former was taken by the astronauts of the Apollo XI and the Moon is never seen that way from Earthnote .

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WeirdMoon