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If the Moon rotates then we should see the dark side right? But as far as I know the Moon only shows one side to Earth, how can this be if it is rotating?


marked as duplicate by Qmechanic Apr 12 '13 at 23:16

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    $\begingroup$ There is no "dark side" all the moon gets illuminated over the course of a month. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Apr 12 '13 at 22:58
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, what dmckee said. Did you mean the far side? $\endgroup$ – David Z Apr 12 '13 at 22:59
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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate: physics.stackexchange.com/q/25437/2451 $\endgroup$ – Qmechanic Apr 12 '13 at 23:10
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I have the P.U.L.S.E DVD, so I can see (and listen to) it any time I want. $\endgroup$ – twistor59 Apr 13 '13 at 7:06
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    $\begingroup$ "There is no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact, it's all dark." $\endgroup$ – Theodore Norvell Jun 9 '14 at 17:08

The rotation of the moon is in synch with its orbit around earth in such a way as to always face earth with the same side. This phenomenon is called tidal locking. The side facing away from earth is usually called the far side of the moon. It was photographed by Soviet spacecrafts in the 50s and 60s and later observed directly by the crews of a few of the Apollo missions. More details here.

  • $\begingroup$ How did any Apollo missions to the moon not see the far side of the moon? $\endgroup$ – DJohnM Dec 19 '18 at 23:52
  • $\begingroup$ @DJohnM Quite a few of the first missions were unmanned, some only went into Earth orbit and one crew was killed during launch rehearsal. $\endgroup$ – jkej Dec 20 '18 at 10:04

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