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View of the Dark Side of the Moon

What the other, the dark side of the Moon looks like? The side that can’t be seen from the Earth?


Why Do We Only See One Side of the Moon?

You may have heard references made to the “dark side” of the Moon. This popular term refers to the fact that the same physical half of the Moon, the “near side”, is always facing Earth, which in turn means that there is a far side or so-called “dark side” that is never facing Earth and can only be seen from space.

So why can we only see one side of the moon from Earth? We all know that the Earth rotates on its own axis, so theoretically, the Moon should also do the same, allowing us to get a full picture of the planetoid. Why are we limited to seeing only 50 percent?

It turns out that the speed at which the Moon rotates has led to this particular phenomenon. Millions of years ago, the Moon spun at a much faster pace than it does now. However, the gravitational influence of the Earth has gradually acted upon the Moon to slow its rotation down, in the same way that the much smaller gravitational influence of the Moon acts upon the Earth to create tides. This influence slowed the rotational period of the Moon to match that of its orbit – about 29.5 days – and it is now “locked in” to this period.

If the Moon didn’t spin at all, then eventually it would show its far side to the Earth while moving around our planet in orbit. However, since the rotational period is exactly the same as the orbital period, the same portion of the Moon’s sphere is always facing the Earth. [via]

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