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We have collaboratively explained [[:Category:Comics|'''{{#expr:{{PAGESINCAT:Comics}}-9}}''' xkcd comics]],
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You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at [[explain xkcd]]. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki!  We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between.  If it is referenced in an [[xkcd]] web comic, it should be here.
 
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* [[List of all comics]] contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links ([[like this]]) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them! '''[[Help:How to add a new comic explanation|Here's how]]'''.
  
 
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Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.
  
If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its Discussion.
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If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.
  
Please only submit material directly related to&mdash;and helping everyone better understand&mdash;xkcd... and of course ''only'' submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited.)  Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users posting such are at risk of being blocked.
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Please only submit material directly related to —and helping everyone better understand— xkcd... and of course ''only'' submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited.)  Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.
  
 
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[[Category:Root category]]
 
[[Category:Root category]]

Revision as of 21:16, 24 March 2013

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!

We have collaboratively explained 5 xkcd comics, and only 1733 (100%) remain. Add yours while there's a chance!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

Moon Shapes
Whenever I see a picture of the moon where the points go more than halfway around, I assume it's being eclipsed by one of those Independence Day ships and interpret the rest of the image in light of that.
Title text: Whenever I see a picture of the moon where the points go more than halfway around, I assume it's being eclipsed by one of those Independence Day ships and interpret the rest of the image in light of that.

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Table needs pictures.

The phases of the moon are created by sunlight reflecting off the moon's surface. This means that the bright side of the moon always needs to be facing towards the sun. However, the moon often appears in works of art in ways that are very dramatic, but violate this rule. This comic lists some of the some common mistakes. In some cases, a depiction may be unrealistic in multiple ways - for example, the Flag of Tunisia has both unrealistic horns and a star visible between the horns, while Van Gogh's Landscape with Couple Walking and Crescent Moon has overlong horns pointing towards the horizon.

Explanation of individual items in the list
Image Explanation
Full moon Normal
Gibbous moon Normal
Crescent moon with points away from horizon Normal
Crescent moon with points towards horizon This can only happen when the sun is above the horizon. This isn't necessarily only during a solar eclipse, but since a crescent moon means that the Sun and Moon are relatively close in the sky, it's hard to see at other times.
Crescent-like moon where the black area doesn't touch the poles The moon is a nearly-perfect sphere, so when it's lit from one side, the dark side will always cover precisely 50% of its surface, and the dark area should begin and end on the moon's axis. If the moon looks like this, the shadows are in the wrong place. This is only possible during a partial solar eclipse, the start of an annular eclipse, or if the Earth is casting an extra shadow on the moon, a lunar eclipse. Randall labels the lunar eclipse "dubious", since the shadow during would be much fuzzier than shown here.
Crescent-like moon where the horns extend well past the poles Again, the shadow should just touch the poles. This situation is even harder to create than the previous one - the Earth's shadow is too big to cover the moon but leave an edge like this - a huge Independence Day spaceship might be the right size. It does however resemble a partial annular eclipse if you imagine that the black area is the moon covering up the white sun.
Crescent moon blocking stars Normal
Crescent moon with stars between horns As the moon is a huge ball, it should block the stars behind it. If stars are visible, there is either a hole, or a light-source on the moon.

Transcript

Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.



Is this out of date? Clicking here will fix that.

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Last 7 days (Top 10)

Lots of people contribute to make this wiki a success. Many of the recent contributors, listed above, have just joined. You can do it too! Create your account here.

You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at explain xkcd. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • List of all comics contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links (like this) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them! Here's how.

Rules

Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.

If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.

Please only submit material directly related to —and helping everyone better understand— xkcd... and of course only submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited.) Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.

If you need assistance from an admin, feel free to leave a message on their personal discussion page. The list of admins is here.

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