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Does the moon revolve around the earth?

Does the moon revolve around the earth?

Contrary to what it may seem, the moon is not stationary in the night sky. Here’s how it moves.

The relationship between the Earth and the Moon has fascinated humanity for centuries. One of the most common questions one might ask is: “Does the moon revolve around the earth?”. In this article, we will explore the complex celestial dance between our planet and its natural moon, in an attempt to clarify uncertainties and deepen our understanding of this complex celestial mechanism.

A satellite in perpetual motion

Earth and moon

Contrary to what it may seem, the moon is not fixed in the night sky; It moves continuously in orbit around the Earth. This orbital motion is known as Moon revolution. The Moon makes almost a complete revolution around the Earth 27.3 daysa period of time known as Synodic month. However, there is another form of lunar motion to consider: rotation. The Moon rotates on its axis, but it does so at a rate synchronous with its orbit around the Earth. And therefore, It always shows the same face to the EarthIt is a phenomenon known as synchronous circulation or tidal locking.

Tide lock and hidden face

Tidal locking is the result of tidal forces that gradually build up The moon’s rotation slowed Over billions of years. This process led to the synchronization between the period of the Moon’s rotation and its period of rotation around the Earth. As a result, we always see the same side of the Earth, while the other side is hidden from our eyes. This phenomenon makes the Moon unique among the celestial bodies in our solar system No other natural satellite shows such clear synchronous rotation.

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credit: Stefano Maragi

Doesn’t the moon rotate on its axis?

Although it appears that it does not rotate around itself, it is important to emphasize that yes, the Moon rotates around its axis, but this movement is synchronized with its rotational movement around the Earth. This synchronization is the result of complex dynamic processes between the two celestial bodies.

How it was formed

The formation of the Moon was the result of a catastrophic collision between the early Earth and a large protoplanet known as Theia. This collision, which occurred billions of years ago, caused material from Earth and Theia to merge, forming a disk of debris around our planet. Over time, this debris collected and gave rise to the moon. This process, known as Giant impact hypothesisIt explains the chemical similarity between the Earth and our natural moon, as well as why the visible side of the Moon is closed in the synchronous rotation we talked about above.

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