Fr.: rotation de la Lune
The Moon's motion around its axis, which takes place in 27.321 661 days (→ sidereal month). Since the Moon and the Earth are → tidally locked our satellite has a → synchronous rotation. This means that it rotates once on its axis in the same length of time it takes to revolve around Earth. That is why the Moon always shows the same face to us. However, over time we can see up to 59 percent of the lunar surface because the Moon does not orbit at a constant speed (→ libration in longitude) and its axis is not perpendicular to its orbit (→ libration in latitude). The Moon also creates tides in Earth oceans. As the Earth rotates, the rising and falling sea waters bring about friction within the liquid itself and between the water and solid Earth. This removes energy from Earth's rotation and causes it to spin more slowly. As a result, days are getting longer, at about 2 milliseconds per century. On the other hand, since the → angular momentum of the → Earth-Moon system must be conserved, the Moon gradually moves away from the Earth. This, in turn, requires its orbital period to increase and, because the Moon is tidally locked to Earth, to spin more slowly.