The near side of the Moon is the lunar hemisphere that is permanently turned towards Earth, as opposed to the opposite far side. Only one side of the Moon is visible from Earth because the Moon rotates on its axis at the same rate that the Moon orbits the Earth – a situation known as synchronous rotation, or tidal locking.?
The Moon is directly illuminated by the Sun, and the cyclically varying viewing conditions cause the lunar phases. Sometimes the dark portion of the Moon is faintly visible due to earthshine, which is indirect sunlight reflected from the surface of Earth and onto the Moon.
Since the Moon's orbit is both somewhat elliptical and inclined to its equatorial plane, libration allows up to 59% of the Moon's surface to be viewed from Earth (though only half at any moment from any point).