Libration

In lunar astronomy, libration is the wagging or wavering of the Moon perceived by Earth-bound observers and caused by changes in their perspective. It permits an observer to see slightly different hemispheres of the surface at different times. It is similar in both cause and effect to the changes in the Moon's apparent size due to changes in distance. It is caused by three mechanisms detailed below, two of which cause a relatively tiny physical libration via tidal forces exerted by the Earth. Such true librations are known as well for other moons with locked rotation.

The lunar phases and librations in 2019 in the Northern Hemisphere at hourly intervals, with music, titles, and supplemental graphics
Simulated views of the Moon over one month, demonstrating librations in latitude and longitude. Also visible are the different phases, and the variation in visual size caused by the variable distance from Earth.
Theoretical extent of visible lunar surface (in green) due to libration, compared to the extent of the visible lunar surface without libration (in yellow). The projection is the Winkel Tripel projection. Mare Orientale, just outside the yellow region, is brought into visibility from Earth by libration.

The quite different phenomenon of a trojan asteroid's movement has been called Trojan libration; and Trojan libration point means Lagrangian point.


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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Libration, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.