EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 507, Number 3, December I 2009
Page(s) 1687 - 1695
Section Celestial mechanics and astrometry
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200912644
Published online 01 October 2009
A&A 507, 1687-1695 (2009)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/200912644

Celestial pole offsets from lunar laser ranging and comparison with VLBI

W. Zerhouni and N. Capitaine

SYRTE, Observatoire de Paris, CNRS, UPMC, 61 avenue de l'Observatoire, 75014 Paris, France
    e-mail: [wassila.zerhouni;nicole.capitaine]@obspm.fr

Received 5 June 2009 / Accepted 2 September 2009

Context. The analysis of lunar laser ranging (LLR) observations is based on determining the round- trip travel times of light pulses between stations on the Earth and reflectors on the surface of the Moon. Several works have demonstrated that this technique is powerful in various domains including astronomy, geodynamics and gravitational physics.
Aims. In the field of geodynamics, LLR contributes to the realization of a dynamical celestial reference frame, in contrast to very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) that determines a kinematical celestial reference frame. In this paper, we have determined corrections to the celestial pole coordinates, denoted X, Y, using LLR observations. This determination is of particular interest for comparison with the one obtained from VLBI observations. The main purpose is to study the benefits of LLR for the determination of the celestial pole coordinates and second how to best combine the time series obtained from both techniques.
Methods. For these determinations, data acquired by LLR tracking stations since 1969 were analyzed and corrections to the nutation terms estimated using a weighted least square fit. Finally, LLR data were combined with the IVS combined VLBI series of 23-year duration.
Results. We have demonstrated the possibility of determining the celestial pole offsets from LLR data even though the results are not as accurate nor as dense as those obtained with VLBI. This work provides some external constraints to the celestial pole coordinates derived from VLBI observations. Moreover, the LLR determination of the long periodic nutation terms shows an improvement with respect to previous studies. The combination of LLR and VLBI series may indicate that the combined series reveal details that do not appear in the VLBI series alone.

Key words: astrometry -- reference systems -- Moon -- ephemerides

© ESO 2009