Imagine the Universe!
Imagine Home  |   Ask an Astrophysicist  |  
Ask an Astrophysicist

The Question

(Submitted March 09, 1998)

Is the dark side of the moon ever exposed to sunlight?

The Answer

The term "dark side of the Moon" is really a misnomer, because the side that we are familiar with is dark just as frequently. A better term might be "far side of the Moon."The orbit of the Moon is such that one rotation is just about as long as one revolution in its orbit around the Earth. Because of this, one side is facing us during its orbit. However, this side is often dark. During a "new moon", the moon is between the Earth and the Sun, and so the side we know is totally dark. When the moon is opposite from the Sun, the side we know will be totally bright, and the far side will be dark.

Steve Bloom
for Ask an Astrophysicist

Questions on this topic are no longer responded to by the "Ask an Astrophysicist" service. See http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/ask_astro/ask_an_astronomer.html for help on other astronomy Q&A services.

Previous question
Prev
Main topic
Main
Next question
Next

If words seem to be missing from the articles, please read this.

Imagine the Universe! is a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC), Dr. Alan Smale (Director), within the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Imagine Team
Project Leader: Dr. Barbara Mattson
Curator: Meredith Gibb
Responsible NASA Official: Phil Newman
All material on this site has been created and updated between 1997-2014.
This page last updated: Thursday, 01-Dec-2005 13:58:39 EST