, Volume 80, Issue 3-4, pp 249-271

Modern Numerical Ephemerides of Planets and the Importance of Ranging Observations for Their Creation

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Abstract

The JPL planetary and lunar ephemerides – DE200/LE200, DE403/LE403, DE405/LE405 and the planetary and lunar ephemerides, EPM87, EPM98, and EPM2000, constructed in the Institute of Applied Astronomy of RAS are described. Common properties and differences of the various ephemerides are given. Graphical comparisons of the DE ephemerides with each other and with the EPM ephemerides are presented. A fairly good agreement of planetary orbits is between DE403, DE405 and EPM98, EPM2000, respectively, over the interval of 120 years (1886–2006) covered by EPM98 and EPM2000. Some differences are explained by a slight disagreement in representing the orbits of Ceres, Pallas, and Vesta as they affect the planets. The accurate radar observations of planets and spacecraft make it possible not only to improve the orbital elements of planets but to determine a broad set of astronomical constants as well: km/AU, parameters of Mars’ rotation including its precessional rate, the masses of Jupiter, Ceres, Pallas, and Vesta, relativistic parameters of the PPN formalism, the variability of the gravitational constant G. These have been obtained in the fitting process of the DE405 and EPM2000 ephemerides to observational data, including nearly 80000 American and Russian radar observations of planets (1961–1997), ranging and doppler to the Viking and Pathfinder land ers, and other miscellaneous measurements from various sources and spacecraft.