Can the Pioneer Anomaly be of Gravitational Origin? A Phenomenological Answer
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- Iorio, L. Found Phys (2007) 37: 897. doi:10.1007/s10701-007-9132-x
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In order to satisfy the equivalence principle, any non-conventional mechanism proposed to gravitationally explain the Pioneer anomaly, in the form in which it is presently known from the so-far analyzed Pioneer 10/11 data, cannot leave out of consideration its impact on the motion of the planets of the Solar System as well, especially those orbiting in the regions in which the anomalous behavior of the Pioneer probes manifested itself. In this paper we, first, discuss the residuals of the right ascension α and declination δ of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto obtained by processing various data sets with different, well-established dynamical theories (JPL DE, IAA EPM, VSOP). Second, we use the latest determinations of the perihelion secular precessions of some planets in order to put on the test two gravitational mechanisms recently proposed to accommodate the Pioneer anomaly based on two models of modified gravity. Finally, we adopt the ranging data to Voyager 2 when it encountered Uranus and Neptune to perform a further, independent test of the hypothesis that a Pioneer-like acceleration can also affect the motion of the outer planets of the Solar System. The obtained answers are negative.