EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 507, Number 3, December I 2009
Page(s) 1635 - 1648
Section Planets and planetary systems
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200912174
Published online 01 October 2009
A&A 507, 1635-1648 (2009)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/200912174

Rotation of rigid Venus: a complete precession-nutation model

L. Cottereau and J. Souchay

Observatoire de Paris, Systèmes de Référence Temps Espace (SYRTE), CNRS/UMR8630, Paris, France
    e-mail: Laure.cottereau@obspm.fr

Received 24 March 2009 / Accepted 28 August 2009

Context. With the increasing knowledge of the terrestrial planets due to recent space probes it is possible to model their rotation with increasing accuracy. Despite that fact, an accurate determination of Venus precession and nutation is lacking
Aims. Although Venus rotation has been studied in several aspects, a full and precise analytical model of its precession-nutation motion remains to be constructed. We propose to determine this motion with up-to-date physical parameters of the planet
Methods. We adopt a theoritical framework already used for a precise precession-nutation model of the Earth, based on a Hamiltonian formulation, canonical equations and an accurate development of the perturbing function due to the Sun.
Results. After integrating the disturbing function and applying the canonical equations, we can evaluate the precession constant $\dot{\Psi}$ and the coefficients of nutation, both in longitude and in obliquity. We get $\dot{\Psi}$ = 4474$\farcs$35/Jcy $\pm$ 66.5 , corresponding to a precession period of 28 965.10$\pm$437 years. This result, based on recent estimations of the Venus moment of inertia is significantly different from previous estimations. The largest nutation coefficient in longitude with an argument 2 LS (where LS is the longitude of the Sun) has a 2''19 amplitude and a 112.35 d period. We show that the coefficients of nutation of Venus due to its triaxiality are of the same order of amplitude as these values due to its dynamical flattening, unlike of the Earth, for which they are negligible.
Conclusions. We have constucted a complete theory of the rotation of a rigid body applied to Venus, with up-to-date determinations of its physical and rotational parameters. This allowed us to set up a new and better constrained value of the Venus precession constant and to calculate its nutation coefficients for the first time.

Key words: astrometry -- celestial mechanics -- planets and satellites: individual: Venus

© ESO 2009