Carolina Biological OSE - July 2024
 

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Elementary Science

The moon

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Natalie Medrano Natalie Medrano 475 Points

Why can we only see one side of the moon?

Matt Bobrowsky Matt Bobrowsky 6410 Points

Brianna is correct.  And you can have students demonstrate this.  Have one student stand and represent the earth.  Another student stands near by and represents the moon.  If the moon-student moves around the sun always facing the same direction, i.e., always facing the same wall, then by the time the moon-student gets halfway around, the student will have her/his back to the earth.  In order to keep the same side toward the earth, the moon-student must slowly rotate as (s)he moves around the earth.  And that's what the moon does, completing one rotation for each revolution.

Brianna Chavez Brianna Chavez 550 Points

Hi! We can only see one side of the moon because the moon is tidally locked to the Earth, which results in synchronous rotation. The moon's period of rotation and period of revolution is the same, so this is why we are only able to see the same side of the moon.

Judith Boyle Judith Boyle 965 Points

Here's a great website for a detailed explanation of your questions. Be sure to watch the video!

https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/how-much-of-the-moon-can-we-see-from-earth-lunar-libration#:~:text=Why%2C%20then%2C%20do%20we%20see,of%20what's%20called%20synchronous%20rotation.&text=Because%20of%20synchronous%20rotation%20or,around%20the%20Earth%3A%2027.32%20days.

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