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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1999 > Apr > Apr 9

Re: Moon Rotation

From: Bob Young <YoungBob2@aol.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Apr 1999 22:45:45 EDT
Fwd Date: Fri, 09 Apr 1999 22:37:33 -0400
Subject: Re: Moon Rotation

Dear Skye and others:

This Moon spinning stuff has got me whoozy (an old Pennsylvania
Dutch term my grandma used to use, meaning "dizzy" or

>>Date: Wed, 07 Apr 1999 15:24:24 -0700
>>From: Skye Turell <mindtrekker@mindspring.com>
>>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>
>>Subject: Re: Silver Veils, Techno-babble, And Delusion


>>The moon does _not_ rotate on its axis. The dark side is always
>>dark and the light side is always light. This is one of many
>>anomalies about the moon.

Sorry, Skye, not a thing in the preceding paragraph is correct, as has been
correctly, but only approximately, pointed out by everybody else. But
nobody, so far, has got the thing exactly right. For example (sorry to
single you out, Terry, but you were quick enough to actually cite a

>From: Terry Blanton <commengr@bellsouth.net>
>Date: Thu, 08 Apr 1999 09:38:52 -0400.
>Fwd Date: Thu, 08 Apr 1999 18:44:01 -0400
>Subject: Re: Moon Rotation


>the orbital and rotational periods of Luna are
>identical. Consequently, the same side of the moon always faces
the Earth.


>Quoting from:

> moon
>the single natural SATELLITE of the earth. The
>lunar orbit is elliptical, and the average distance of
>the moon from the earth is about 240,000 mi
>(385,000 km). The moon's orbital period around the
>earth, and also its rotation period, is 27.322 days.
>The true angular size of the moon's diameter is about
>1/2 [degree], which also happens to be the sun's apparent
>diameter. This coincidence makes possible total solar

The Moon's orbit is _elliptical_ folks, not round. Please pay
attention, now. According to Kepler's 2nd Law of Planetary
Motion, the Moon moves faster when it is closest to the Earth in
this elliptical orbit and slowest when it is most distant.
Believe it or not, its distance can actually vary by about
50,000 miles during a lunar month.

Thus, while the period of the Moon's rotation on its axis is the
same as the period of its revolution about the Earth, it's
orbital speed is sometimes faster and sometimes slower. When the
Moon is moving faster we get to peek around the back edge a few
degrees; when it is moving slower it drops back a little and we
get to peek around the front edge a bit. This is called a
Libratory Motion in longitude.

But there is more. The Moon's orbit plane is tilted to the
Ecliptic by about 6 degrees. Thus the Moon is seen to "nod",
allowing us to peek over the north pole sometimes during the
month and at other times to peek under and behind the south

There are also several smaller librations and an additional
dialy motion which can add or subtract to the libration in
longitude because when the Moon rises in the East sets in the
West we are looking from viewpoints about 8,000 miles apart.

Anyway, all of this allows us to see 59 percent of the moon in a
30 year period. To check out this take a look at the Moon in
binoculars once a week. Sometimes you will see the "left ear" of
the Man in the Moon, the Sea of Crises, near the edge and
sometimes quite a distance from the edge. In other words, the
Moon does not display exactly the same face to us.


>the real anomaly is that the moon perfectly
>eclipses the sun.

Well, since its distance varies by about 20 percent, so does its
size. Sometimes it is distant and so small that it can't cover
the Sun, resulting in a ring of Sun around the Moon. These
eclipses are called Annular eclipses.

And, by the way, because of the mutual effects of gravity (tidal
"sloshing" of oceans and slight deformations) the Earth-Moon
system is gradually slowing its mutual dance, as the Moon moves
further away in its elliptical orbit. Thus there may be a time
when we never have total eclipses of the Sun.

There's not an anomaly here, just temporary coincidence.

Clear and dark skies,

Bob Young

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