Volume 561, January 2014
|Number of page(s)||13|
|Section||Celestial mechanics and astrometry|
|Published online||17 January 2014|
Use of MESSENGER radioscience data to improve planetary ephemeris and to test general relativity
1 Observatoire de Besançon, UTINAM-CNRS UMR6213, 41bis avenue de l’Observatoire, 25000 Besançon, France
2 Centre National d’Études Spatiales, 18 avenue Édouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France
3 Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, GéoAzur-CNRS UMR7329, 250 avenue Albert Einstein, 06560 Valbonne, France
4 Astronomie et Systèmes Dynamiques, IMCCE-CNRS UMR8028, 77 Av. Denfert-Rochereau, 75014 Paris, France
Received: 24 June 2013
Accepted: 7 November 2013
The current knowledge of Mercury’s orbit has mainly been gained by direct radar ranging obtained from the 60s to 1998 and by five Mercury flybys made with Mariner 10 in the 70s, and with MESSENGER made in 2008 and 2009. On March 18, 2011, MESSENGER became the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury. The radioscience observations acquired during the orbital phase of MESSENGER drastically improved our knowledge of the orbit of Mercury. An accurate MESSENGER orbit is obtained by fitting one-and-half years of tracking data using GINS orbit determination software. The systematic error in the Earth-Mercury geometric positions, also called range bias, obtained from GINS are then used to fit the INPOP dynamical modeling of the planet motions. An improved ephemeris of the planets is then obtained, INPOP13a, and used to perform general relativity tests of the parametrized post-Newtonian (PPN) formalism. Our estimations of PPN parameters (γ and β) are more stringent than previous results.
Key words: ephemerides / celestial mechanics
© ESO, 2014
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