Saturday, March 24, 2012

Relational Libration

By Julie Rahm

The next full moon will be on the sixth of April. Did you know, only one half of the moon faces the earth? This is due to tidal locking. The gravitational force between the earth and moon has stopped the moon’s rotation. The moon does not rotate like the earth. Now, due to tidal locking, we only see one-half of the moon. The same side of the moon always faces the earth. Tidal locking is like a couple moving around on a dance floor with one always facing the other. One dancer only sees the front half of the other. However, this one-half story is not entirely exact. Even though the moon doesn’t rotate like the earth, we still see more than half. In fact, we get to see almost 60% of the moon! How can this be? The answer is libration. Libration is the slow rocking of the moon as seen from earth allowing an observer to see slightly different halves of the moon at different times. In short, the moon wobbles! To further peel this onion, there are three types of lunar libration. There is lunar libration in longitude and latitude and, diurnal libration. Yes, the moon wobbles in three different ways because of three different reasons. Now you know!

Initially, my husband John was confusing libration with libation. John, being no stranger to beer, commented that if libration was rocking back and forth, libation could cause wobbling libration. But, that is not what astronomers had in mind when they discovered the phenomenon. It is fascinating to discover that we can see almost 60% of the moon that always faces us. The moon and earth certainly have an interesting relationship. Our personal relationships also have a measure of wobbling libration.

Couples face each other as they happily dance their way through their lives. Husbands and wives are attentive to one another just as the moon faces, and is attentive to, the earth. Days and years pass by. But occasionally, a life changing event will affect the relationship and cause a wobble. The event could be small or large. But, it will have enough impact to cause wobbling libration in the relationship. It could be a death in the family, divorce, hurricane, unemployment or a thousand other things. My point is, the significant event causes personal wobbling or libration. Now, we can observe more of the individual than usual. Instead of the sunlit side that always faces us; we can see some of the unlit, unseen side. Challenges provide the wobble in our relationships allowing us to learn more about our significant others. Important is the realization that challenges provide additional exposure of our personalities. If you are facing a challenge, what other insight are you exposing to your significant other? Is it constructive or destructive?

If you would like some help with your personal librations, visit my website at Download my latest Kindle book, Military Kids Speak at

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