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Author Topic: Does the moon rotate on its own axis?  (Read 5873 times)

John Gillard

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Does the moon rotate on its own axis?
« on: 15/06/2008 23:05:06 »
John Gillard asked the Naked Scientists:

Why is it claimed by most astronomers that the Moon
rotates on its own axis ?. It obviously does not.

What do you think?


 

lyner

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Does the moon rotate on its own axis?
« Reply #1 on: 15/06/2008 23:13:24 »
Hello John
How does it obviously not, if it goes round us once a month and is always facing us? Try walking round a table, facing it all the time, without 'turning on your own axis'. If you don't turn, you won't be facing the table all the time.
 

blakestyger

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Does the moon rotate on its own axis?
« Reply #2 on: 16/06/2008 13:47:52 »
That's right - but the big mystery is how it rotates such that it always shows the same aspect.
Was it always thus or a function of its present distance from us - as the moon is slowly moving further away from Earth will future observers be able to see some of 'the other side'?
 

Offline LeeE

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Does the moon rotate on its own axis?
« Reply #3 on: 16/06/2008 15:13:55 »
The Moon always shows the same aspect because it's tidally locked to the Earth - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_locking

This won't change as it moves further away, at least while it's still under the influence of Earth's gravity.  That is, while it continues to orbit the Earth.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Does the moon rotate on its own axis?
« Reply #3 on: 16/06/2008 15:13:55 »

 

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