What Phenomenon Is Responsible for the Moon's Synchronous Rotation?

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The phenomenon responsible for the moon's synchronous rotation has a lot to do with gravity. Find out what phenomenon is responsible for the moon's synchronous rotation with help from an educational professional in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Moons & Planets
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Hi, my name is Eylene Pirez, and I'm an astrophysicist, and this is, "What phenomenon is responsible for the moon's synchronous rotation?" So a lot of people think that a rotation period has to do with gravity itself but it actually has to do with the gravitational gradient and this is called tidal locking. So the phenomenon is called tidal locking. So what's happening in between the Earth and moon and sun. So obviously the moon is feeling the sun but it is also feeling the pull from the Earth. So it's a three body problem which is very complicated and it can get very gruesome in terms of mathematics. But what is happening is that the moon synchronizes itself so one face of the moon is always facing the Earth's point of view. So if you have the moon here half of it is being lit by the sun. We're always seeing the same face of the moon. And that's what's called the tidal locking and that's the physical phenomenon that causes the synchronous rotation. My name is Eylene Pirez, and I'm an astrophysicist, and this is, "What phenomenon causes synchronous rotation?"

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