Unlike a 24-hour solar day, a lunar day lasts 24 hours and 50 minutes. This occurs because the moon revolves around the Earth in the same direction that the Earth is rotating on its axis. Therefore, it takes the Earth an extra 50 minutes to “catch up” to the moon. Since the Earth rotates through two tidal “bulges” every lunar day, we experience two high and two low tides every 24 hours and 50 minutes. Here, we see the relationship between the tidal cycle and the lunar day. High tides occur 12 hours and 25 minutes apart, taking six hours and 12.5 minutes for the water at the shore to go from high to low, and then from low to high.

Animation of lunar day

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