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Posted by bio_man   June 28, 2022   13656 views

Did you know that the Moon's rotation is locked to its orbit around Earth by a bulge of material under the Moon's surface? This material is denser than the rest of the Moon's surface material, and Earth's gravity pulls on it especially strongly. The side of the Moon containing the bulge always faces Earth. We call it the near side and we call the other side, which we never see from Earth, the far side. People often mistakenly use the term "dark side" when referring to the far side of the Moon, forgetting that the far side is fully illuminated by the Sun whenever we see a new moon from Earth.

If we were to look from high above the Earth-Moon system, we would see the Moon rotate once per month with respect to the stars. This is its sidereal rotation period and lasts 27 1/3 days. The Moon revolves around Earth in the same amount of time.

The Moon's elliptical orbit, combined with other factors, gives the Moon a slightly irregular velocity as it revolves around Earth, so we sometimes see a bit around the Moon’s edge to one side or the other. These " librations" allow us to see about five-eighths of the Moon’s surface from Earth.

astronomy moon earth
Posted in Interesting Facts
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