Why Can’t We See The Dark Side of The Moon?

Thanks to the revolutionist, the great Nicolas Copernicus, and the company for verifying the fact that Earth’s surface is round (The Heliocentric Theory) rather than the Aristotlean- Ptolemy Geo-centric theory.

Thanks to the scientific revolution, we are aware that all the heavenly bodies are round in shape. Therefore, the same theory can also be applied to the natural satellite of the earth – The Moon.

If the moon is round in shape; as a result, the moon is bound to have two hemispheres as just our blue planet earth.

 

Truth About The Dark Side Of The Moon

The only truth about the dark side of the moon is that there is no dark side of the moon. Some people may think that the dark side of the moon means that there is no sunlight on that side. But that is not the case.

In other words, Both sides of the moon receive an almost equal amount of sunlight. It is simply called dark because it was unseen by humans.

Must read, Are We Really Going To Lose Our Only Moon?

The dark side of the moon is just a phrase taken from some Britisher’s band named Pink Floyd which released an album named “the dark side of the moon” in 1973.

That is why when some people meant to say the far side of the moon, they mistakenly use the phrase, “The Dark Side Of The Moon”

 

Why Can’t We See The Moon’s Darkside?

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A complete view of the near side of the moon/Credit: BBC

As far as the humans are considered (living on earth), we can only see the one side of the moon (either left or right side of the moon) that we see each and every day from our motherland Earth.

Though, sometimes we also see a glimpse of the far side of the moon due to some astronomical phenomenon called Libration.

Now the question arises that why does earth never see the dark dark side of the moon? Or, if the moon rotates why can’t we see the Dark Side of the moon? Or, simply in the language of physics, Why Can’t We See The Dark Side Of The Moon?

Wanna know When is the Next Lunar Eclipse? Lunar Eclipse 2020

 

Let’s Play

Take football and a cricket ball. Now think of the football as Planet Earth and the cricket ball as The Moon. Now rotate the football (planet earth) on its axis. For a clear understanding, take a look at the GIF below!!!

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This is why we only see one side of the moon/Credit: Wikimedia Commons

And, simultaneously at the same time, rotate the cricket ball (moon) on its axis and as well as around the football (planet earth). In the language of astronomy, this phenomenon is known as Tidal Locking or Synchronous Locking.

Well, for the fact, some astronomers argue that our natural satellite was not always tidally locked with the earth. In his earlier days, maybe the moon was rotating faster than the earth’s rotation or vice-versa.

As time passes by, the gravitational force exerted by earth towards the moon forced it somehow to revolve around the earth in synchronized motion or gravitational locking.

This synchronized motion between the two heavenly bodies (earth and the moon) is the reason why don’t we see the dark side of the moon

 

Pictures Of The Dark Side Of The Moon

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The October 7, 1959, image by Luna 3 which revealed, for the first time, the far side of the Moon/Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Have we been on the dark side of the moon ever? Astronomers have known for a very long time that there is a far side of the moon to be explored or be seen. In the year 1959, it was Soviet spacecraft LUNA 3 that gave us the first-ever pictures of the dark side of the moon.

Frankly speaking, the pictures taken by Luna 3 was not enough convincing. As a result, in 1965, the Soviet union send another space probe named ZOND 3 which flew over the far side of the moon and returned with a number of good quality pictures of the dark side of the moon.

Recommended, Hence, That’s How Was The Moon Formed…!!!

After the Soviet’s exploration of the so-called dark side of the moon, around 1966 to 1967 Nasa’s Lunar Orbiter program also did the detailed exploration of the far side of the moon.

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An Animated Photograph Of Soviet Space probe Luna 3/Credit: Wikimedia Commons

And after that, so many space probes launched by different countries have taken photographs or pictures of the dark side of the moon.

As Luna 3, Zond 3, or Nasa’a Lunar Orbiter Program’s Probe were all unmanned space crafts that captured the pictures of the dark side of the moon and transmitted back to the earth.

But, it was Nasa’s Apollo 8 mission crew member who for the first time in human history saw the far side of the moon with their naked eyes. As Astronaut William Anders Describes,

the backside looks like a sand pile my kids have played in for some time. It’s all beat up, no definition, just a lot of bumps and holes

 

Structures On The Dark Side Of Moon

Before the pictures of the dark side of the moon taken by the Soviet’s space probe Luna 3, astronomers estimated that the far side of the moon will be almost similar to the near side of the moon (the side we see every day from planet earth).

But, their view was drastically changed after seeing the photographs captured by the Luna 3. Well, If we compare both sides of the moon on the bases of lunar Maria ( a dusky, massive, basaltic plains found on the lunar’s surface), only 1 or maybe 2 percent of the far side is covered with Lunar Maria.

Also read, 8 Lunar Phases – From New Moon To Full Moon To New Moon

On the other hand, around 31 or 32 percent of the near side of the moon is covered with Lunar Maria. Later in the year 1962, Nasa’a Ranger Program’s Ranger 4 tried to become the first-ever unmanned spacecraft to land on the far side of the lunar surface.

But, sadly due to some technical failure, ranger 4 crashed while trying to land on the lunar surface. And, as a result, it was not able to transmit any scientific data back to earth. Ranger 4 core mission was to collect data related to gamma radiation and to test the radar reflectivity of the far side of the moon.

 

Recent Explorations

Finally, on January 3, 2019, a space probe of Chinese lunar exploration named Chang’e 4 became the first-ever unmanned spacecraft to softly land on the far side of the lunar surface.

Also read, Finally, China Has It’s Own Einstein’s GPS

Chang’e 4 basic aim is to find and study some material of the South Pole-Aitken Basin (one of the largest impact crater of the solar system). As per the latest news by Chinese Lunar Exploration; in May 2019, a mass concentration of lunar material has been identified deep within the craters.

It will further help is studying different aspects related to the far side of the moon like how temperature varies on the far side of the moon, or like what is the chemical composition of lunar rocks or soil of the so-called dark side of the moon, or like how cosmic rays affect the far side of the lunar surface.

They even want to install a radio telescope on the far or so-called dark side of the moon.

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I am a mechanical engineer by profession. Just because of my love for fundamental physics, I switched my carrier, and therefore I just completed my postgraduate degree in physics. Right now I am a loner (as like ever) and a Physics blogger too. My sole future goal is to do a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, especially in the field of cosmology. Because in my view, every part of physics comes within the range of cosmology. And I love traveling, especially the Sole one.

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