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2

You are right. If Mars orbited in exactly the same plane as the Earth, instead of an S or a loop, we would see Mars moving prograde relative for the stars along the ecliptic, then slowing and stopping, moving retrograde for a few months, as Earth overtakes it, still on the ecliptic, then moving prograde again. But Mars doesn't orbit in the same plane, so it ...


1

The earth is smoothly and constantly moving around the sun. At the moment of the equinox, a line from the center of the sun to the center of the earth passes through the equator. That only lasts an instant. Before that instant, the line is on one side of the tilted equator, and after that, it's on the other side. The day labeled "the equinox" is ...


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The key concept is called Tidal locking. Earth's gravity forced the Moon to rotate in that way during the first few tens of millions of years after the Moon formed and then kept it that way. The wikipedia page describes the mechanism: Consider a pair of co-orbiting objects, A and B. The change in rotation rate necessary to tidally lock body B to the larger ...


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