Which side of the moon is the "sunlit side"?

Paul Hertz, a director at NASA, announced that water has been detected "on the sunlit side of the moon." As the moon revolves around the Earth, don't all sides get sunlight? 

Update:

That phrase has been picked up by several news services, including USA Today.

Update 2:

The exact quote from NASA:  “We had indications that H2O – the familiar water we know – might be present on the sunlit side of the Moon,” said Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

14 Answers

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  • 1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    Well, that's the quote from Paul Hertz... but, the headline of the announcement is "NASA’s SOFIA Discovers Water on Sunlit Surface of Moon"

    While it was long conjectured - and finally proven - that water ice exists on the floors of craters that never get exposed to the sun, it was something of  surprise to find it in places that were exposed to the Sun. 

    The announcement goes on to say, “We had indications that H2O – the familiar water we know – might be present on the sunlit side of the Moon,” said Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Now we know it is there. This discovery challenges our understanding of the lunar surface and raises intriguing questions about resources relevant for deep space exploration.”

    I'm wondering what the results will be - I didn't think there'd be any water molecules intact on the bright surface of the moon. 

  • JASON
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    When they announced this on the radio, the presenter said it must be on the dark side. I couldn't believe he said this. 

  • D g
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    The whole moon is sunlit we only see part of it 

    When it's a half moon to us that means the other quarter on the other side is lit too 

  • 1 month ago

    Tidal forces from Earth have slowed the Moon's rotation to the point where the same side is always facing the Earth—a phenomenon called tidal locking. The other face, most of which is never visible from the Earth, is therefore called the "far side of the Moon". Over time, some parts of the far side can be seen due to libration. In total, 59 percent of the Moon's surface is visible from Earth at one time or another. Useful observation of the parts of the far side of the Moon occasionally visible from Earth is difficult because of the low viewing angle from Earth (they cannot be observed "full on"). The phrase "dark side of the Moon" does not refer to "dark" as in the absence of light, but rather "dark" as in unknown: until humans were able to send spacecraft around the Moon, this area had never been seen.

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  • 1 month ago

    the side thats white

  • 1 month ago

    That probably means parts which are not in permanent shadow.  There are bound to be craters near the poles which never see the sun.

  • 1 month ago

    What that quote refers to is water in places where Sunlight does hit the surface.

    Prior findings of water as ice on the Moon were in places near the South Pole where Sunlight never enters those craters and crevasses.

  • 1 month ago

    No one side is always in darkness I think.

  • 1 month ago

    The whole of the Moon gets Sunshine during its Orbit

    It Keeps the one side facing Earth because it Rotates once during its Orbit to do so

    So yes

    Attachment image
  • Yes, all of the moon gets sunlight.

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