Why do we see only one side of the Moon alwaysCBSE Class 6 Geography NCERT
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Why do we see only one side of the Moon always?CBSE Class 6 Geography NCERT

From Chapter 1–THE EARTH IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM


By:akialwayz

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Only one side of the Moon is visible from Earth because the Moon rotates about its spin axis at the same rate that the Moon orbits the Earth, a situation known as synchronous rotation or tidal locking. The Moon is directly illuminated by the Sun, and the cyclically varying viewing conditions cause the lunar phases.

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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. Actually a little bit more than half of the Moon's surface is observable from Earth. Since the Moon's orbit is elliptical, and not circular, the speed of its orbital travel increases and decreases depending on how close it is to our planet. The rotational speed of the Moon is constant however – and this difference between orbital speed and rotational speed means that when the Moon is farthest from the Earth, its orbital speed slows down just enough to allow its rotational speed to overtake it, giving observers a small glimpse of the usually hidden area. The term for this "rocking" motion of the Moon is called libration and it allows for 59 percent of the Moon to be seen in total (over time).

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