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Watch the moon wobble its way through all of 2015 in this NASA video

A waning crescent captured by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Wax on, wax off.
By Zach Wener-Fligner
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

As the moon orbits Earth, it keeps the same face oriented toward our planet—almost. From our view, this slight variance—known as libration—looks like a wobble that slowly changes our view of the Moon.

Thanks to NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a satellite that has orbited the moon since 2009, we can see what that wobble will look like for all of 2015 in the span of five minutes. The video also shows the moon’s phases—in other words, changes in its visibility due to shadows cast on the moon by the Earth.

The video shows the moon at hourly intervals, compressing a month into 24 seconds. All in all, about 59% of the moon is visible from Earth over the course of a year, rather than just the half that would be visible if libration did not occur.

NASA also released a version of the video set to music and without titles, ideal for psychedelic lunar-worship parties and the like:

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

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