Science & Tech — 22 January 2014

moon

You might have heard about the near side and dark side of the Moon. This is actually true because we only see one side of the Moon that is the near side. The dark side is always hidden from us. There is also a reason behind this fact. As our Earth takes rotations on its axis, the Moon also performs similar rotations on its axis. Additionally, it also revolves around the Earth. However, its single rotation and revolution are completed in 29 days. Due to the same rotation and revolution time, we always get to see the same side of the Moon.

Even though the Moon’s revolution around the Earth causes different Moon phases, its near side is the one that is constantly visible to us. This is a kind of locking of both planetary bodies that occurs due to the Earth’s gravitational pull. When both the Earth and the Moon are close, this pull makes the Moon spin at the same rate, as is the rate of its revolution. A similar force by the Moon causes tidal waves to appear on the Earth. Had the Moon not been spinning, we would have also seen its far side. However, we can only see the near side now due to its locking period.

Even though the rotational and orbital period of the Moon is same, its rotational and orbital speeds vary. Depending on its distance from the Earth, the Moon’s orbital speed keeps on increasing and decreasing. However, its rotational speed always remains the same. Due to this fact, we can sometimes see around 60 percent part of the Moon when it is the farthest from the Earth. At this time, people can get a glimpse of a portion of its hidden side too. At other times, only the near side remains in front of us.

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Written by Anupam Jolly

With a bachelor’s degree in technology and over five years of experience in online content generation and distribution, Anupam Jolly has been creating and editing content spanning across a variety of domains. An avid environmentalist, Anupam Jolly believes that if humans can degrade the environment, they can save it from disaster too.

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Anupam Jolly

With a bachelor’s degree in technology and over five years of experience in online content generation and distribution, Anupam Jolly has been creating and editing content spanning across a variety of domains. An avid environmentalist, Anupam Jolly believes that if humans can degrade the environment, they can save it from disaster too.

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