Earth Albedo and the orbit of LAGEOS
Abstract
The longperiod perturbations in the orbit of the Lageos satellite due to the Earth's albedo have been found using a new analytical formalism. The Earth is assumed to be a sphere whose surface diffusely reflects sunlight according to Lambert's law. Specular reflection is not considered. The formalism is based on spherical harmonics; it produces equations which hold regardless of whether the terminator is seen by the satellite or not. Specializing to the case of a realistic zonal albedo shows that Lageos' orbital semimajor axis changes periodically by only the a few millimeters and the eccentricity by one part in 100,000. The longitude of the node increases secularly. The effect considered here can explain neither the secular decay of 1.1 mm/day in the semimajor axis nor the observed alongtrack variations in acceleration of order 2 x 10 to the minus 12 power/sq ms.
 Publication:

NASA STI/Recon Technical Report N
 Pub Date:
 June 1985
 Bibcode:
 1985STIN...8532131R
 Keywords:

 Albedo;
 Bouguer Law;
 Earth (Planet);
 Lageos (Satellite);
 Quantum Mechanics;
 Formalism;
 Reflectance;
 Satellite Orbits;
 Spherical Harmonics;
 Astrodynamics