Sunday, January 15, 2006

Does The Moon Rotate

Rotating Moon From
The Artemis Project

Moon RotatingIf the moon does rotate why do we only see one side of it?

I thought this was going to be an easy answer, after-all, growing up during the Apollo missions to the moon, I distinctly remember that the Apollo Spacecrafts while orbiting the moon, were at times on the dark side and that we on earth never could see the dark side of the moon. So, if that is in fact true, why is it said that the moon rotates?

Apparently it has to do with your perspective. For the simple answer it seems as though it does not rotate on its own axis but as it rotates around the earth it does in fact have a rate of rotation (in reference to the earth) about the same rate of rotation for it to completely orbit the earth. Now, on the other side of the simple answer, the moon does in fact not really rotate at all in reference to the earth. It kind-of gyrates (wobbles) back and forth as it orbits the earth. Who is right? Does it rotate at the same speed as its orbit around the earth? Or, does the moon not rotate at all?

For more in-depth explanations take a look at a number of different explanations

Actually there are some interesting arguments on both sides of the issue on whether the moon rotates or not.

See some further reading about NASA Missions To The Moon

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