synchronous rotation


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synchronous rotation

1. (captured rotation) The rotation of a natural satellite about its primary in which the period of rotation of the satellite is equal to its orbital period. The same hemisphere thus always faces the primary. The Moon is in synchronous rotation, although libration allows slightly more than one hemisphere to be seen from Earth. There are good dynamical reasons for satellites fairly close to their planet being locked in synchronous rotation. See tidal force.
2. (synchronism) A situation in a close binary star in which the rotation period of a star is equal to the binary's orbital period (for circular orbits).

synchronous rotation

[′siŋ·krə·nəs rō′tā·shən]
(astronomy)
The rotation of a planet or satellite whose period is equal to its orbital period.
References in periodicals archive ?
Scientists believe these spin rates may be variable because Charon exerts a strong torque that prevents each small moon from settling down into synchronous rotation.
The Moon is in synchronous rotation with Earth because the time it takes to spin once on its axis equals the time it takes for it to orbit around Earth.
The moon is in synchronous rotation, which means it rotates about its axis in about the same time it takes to orbit the earth.
The secondary is thought to be locked in synchronous rotation about the primary (rather like the Earth-Moon system) and occasionally undergoes mutual eclipses and occultations.

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