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March 28 2013

Why Doesn't the Moon Spin?


I've been asked on a number of occasions recently why the moon always seems to show us the same face -- the lunar nearside. I'm not sure why there's the sudden interest, but it's a very good and valid question, especially as tonight (March 27) is a full moon.

Look at the moon at any time and -- aside from the constantly changing phases that are caused by changing relative positions of the Earth, the moon and sun -- it does indeed show us the same face, constantly. Perhaps surprisingly, it's 'non-rotation' (from our perspective) comes from its interaction with the Earth.

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