How to measure the rotation period of the moon?

In summary, scientists measure the rotation period of the moon by recording the time it takes for the edge of the moon to cross a certain distance or by measuring the angle to the edge of a crater compared to the edge of the moon. This is possible due to the moon's rotational lock with the Earth, caused by tidal friction. Sources for more information on this topic can be found through research.
  • #1
suski
9
0
anyone know how scientists measure the rotation period of the moon?
thank you!
 
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  • #2
Do you mean it's own rotation (ie a lunar day) or it's rotation around the Earth (a lunar month)
 
  • #3
its own rotation (lunar day)
 
  • #4
im trying to find articles/sources on it..but haven't found any yet
 
  • #5
The moons day is the same length as the lunar month (27 days 7 hours 43.2min) - that's why it always points the same face toward earth.
This isn't a coincidence, an effect called tidal friction means that gradually the Earth has slowed down the moon's rotation until it is now locked to Earth.
It does rotate a small amount because of small variation in the orbit, you can see this from small changes in the shadows on craters.
 
  • #6
thanks!
but are there any methods to calculate/measure it?
 
  • #7
Well the lunar month you just record the time that the edge of the moon crosses some distance bright star and then note the next time it crosses it 28days later.
For the day rotation you could measure the angle to the edge of some crater compared to the edge of the moon.
 
  • #8
oh okok..
thanks alot!
 
  • #9
do u know where i can find info on this??
 

Related to How to measure the rotation period of the moon?

1. How is the rotation period of the moon measured?

The rotation period of the moon can be measured using a technique called "lunar ranging". This involves using lasers to measure the distance between Earth and reflectors placed on the surface of the moon. By tracking the movement of these reflectors over time, scientists can determine the rotation period of the moon.

2. What is the rotation period of the moon?

The rotation period of the moon is approximately 27.3 Earth days. This means that it takes the moon 27.3 days to make one full rotation on its axis, relative to the stars. However, due to its orbit around Earth, we see slightly different parts of the moon's surface each day, giving the appearance of a longer rotation period.

3. How accurate are measurements of the rotation period of the moon?

Measurements of the rotation period of the moon are highly accurate, with a margin of error of only a few seconds. This is due to the precision of the lunar ranging technique and the use of modern technology such as high-powered lasers and reflector arrays.

4. Has the rotation period of the moon always been the same?

No, the rotation period of the moon has changed over time due to various factors such as tidal forces from Earth and impacts from other celestial bodies. Scientists estimate that the moon's rotation period has slowed down by about 1.4 milliseconds per century.

5. Why is it important to measure the rotation period of the moon?

Measuring the rotation period of the moon is important for understanding its physical characteristics and its relationship with Earth. It also helps in accurately predicting lunar eclipses and studying the effects of tidal forces on the moon's surface.

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