Why do we never see the Moon like this? Because of tidal locking.To wit:

…because the Earth’s moon is tidally locked to the Earth, showing us only one side. Given modern digital technology, however, combined with many detailed images returned by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), a high resolution virtual Moon rotation movie has been composed. The featured time-lapse video starts with the standard Earth view of the Moon. Quickly, though, Mare Orientale, a large crater with a dark center that is difficult to see from the Earth, rotates into view just below the equator. From an entire lunar month condensed into 24 seconds, the video clearly shows that the Earth side of the Moon contains an abundance of dark lunar maria, while the lunar far side is dominated by bright lunar highlands. Currently, over 19 new missions to the Moon are under active development from eight different countries, most of which have expected launch dates in the next three years.

(Video: NASA, LRO, Arizona State U.)


1 thought on “Looney Turns

  1. Slightly Bemused

    That is fantastic! Thank you for sharing this.A thing of wonder!

    Prior to this, most views I have seen of the Moon in motion (could be a song title there) is of libration when due to angles of our perspective as the moon continues its orbit we see a bit more of the leading and then trailing sides, and of the north and south poles.


    Also, great title :-)

Comments are closed.