Planets and Moons  ID: 4709

The Moon's Rotation

An enduring myth about the Moon is that it doesn't rotate. While it's true that the Moon keeps the same face to us, this only happens because the Moon rotates at the same rate as its orbital motion, a special case of tidal locking called synchronous rotation. The animation shows both the orbit and the rotation of the Moon. The yellow circle with the arrow and radial line have been added to make the rotation more apparent. The arrow indicates the direction of rotation. The radial line points to the center of the visible disk of the Moon at 0°N 0°E.

Used Elsewhere In

Visualization Credits

Ernie Wright (USRA): Lead Visualizer
Laurence Schuler (ADNET Systems Inc.): Technical Support
Ian Jones (ADNET Systems Inc.): Technical Support
David Ladd (USRA): Producer
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NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

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This item is part of this series:
The Moon

SVS >> Moon
SVS >> Orbit
SVS >> Hyperwall
SVS >> Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
NASA Science >> Planets and Moons