libration in longitude
Fr.: libration en longitude
A tiny oscillating motion of the → Moon arising from the fact that the Moon's orbit is not a precise circle but rather an → ellipse. Therefore, Moon is sometimes a little closer to the Earth than at other times, and as a result its → orbital velocity varies a bit. Since the Moon's rotation on its own axis is more regular, the difference appears as a slight east-west oscillation. Libration in longitude is the most significant kind of libration. It varies between about 4°.5 and 8°.1 because of gravitational perturbations in the Moon's orbit caused by the Sun.