Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Far Side of the Moon

Humanity is well familiar with the geography of the Moon. Throughout history we have looked up and saw the same layout with few, if any, noticeable changes. Part of the reason for this is because we have only been able to see one hemisphere of the Moon. The other hemisphere, the far side, has only been seen by astronauts.

The reason for seeing one hemisphere is tidal locking. The Earth's gravity captured the Moon so intensely that the near side is forced to always face the Earth. This is called synchronous rotation. Part of the far side is visible during periods of libration.

The far side is mistakenly called the dark side of the moon. The far side gets sunlight as well.

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