Earth and the Moon

The Moon

What is the “dark side” of the Moon?

The dark side of the Moon is a misnomer for the side of the Moon that always faces away from Earth. Over billions of years, the rotation of the Moon has become synchronized with its orbit around Earth, so that the same side of the Moon always faces our planet. (That is why the designs people see on the Moon can change orientation, but never change shape.) This phenomenon, called tidal locking, means that the other side of the Moon is never visible from Earth. Though this side is sometimes dark, just as often it is brightly lit by the Sun. So the scientifically accurate way to refer to the Moon’s “dark side” should be the “far side” of the Moon.


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