synchronous rotation

synchronous rotation

noun Astronomy.
rotation of a satellite in which the period of rotation is equal to the period of orbit around its primary, leaving the same face always pointing toward the primary: The moon is in synchronous rotation about the earth.

Origin:
1970–75

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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
synchronous rotation  
The rotation of an orbiting body on its axis in the same amount of time as it takes to complete a full orbit, with the result that the same face is always turned toward the body it is orbiting. Synchronous rotation is the result of tidal forces that over time slow the rotation of the smaller body until it is synchronized with its period of revolution around the larger body. The Earth's Moon exhibits synchronous rotation, as do a majority of moons in the solar system. Also called captured rotation. Compare synchronous orbit.
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