The Moon's Orbit and Rotation
Image Credit: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio
Published: December 2, 2022
Historical Date: November 23, 2020
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.