This short wibblette is especially for Sue of Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary, who wondered recently “What is on the dark side of the Moon?”.
“There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact, it’s all dark.” — Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon
The picture on the right should be familiar to most people (although I sometimes wonder if Antipodeans — folks hailing from New Zealand or Australia — see it the same way up as we do in the northern hemisphere!); it’s the near side of the Moon.
One reason why it’s so familiar is that the Moon is tidally locked to the Earth; it always presents the same face towards us wherever it is in its orbit.
In this picture, the moon is full, and the ‘dark’ side is the side that faces away from us, the side we never see. But when the moon is ‘new’, the side towards us is the ‘dark side’, and the other side is in full sunlight….
This, on the left, is a picture of the far side of the Moon. It was first seen by human eyes in 1968 by the crew of Apollo 8: Borman, Lovell and Anders. The far side has been extensively mapped by various satellite missions dating back to 1959.
The two sides look very different. One theory that might explain this is revealed in the short video below.