The planetary and lunar ephemeris DE 421 represents updated estimates of the orbits of the Moon and planets. The lunar orbit is known to submeter accuracy through fitting lunar laser ranging data. The orbits of Venus, Earth, and Mars are known to subkilometer accuracy. Because of perturbations of the orbit of Mars by asteroids, frequent updates are needed to maintain the current accuracy into the future decade. Mercury's orbit is determined to an accuracy of several kilometers by radar ranging. The orbits of Jupiter and Saturn are determined to accuracies of tens of kilometers as a result of spacecraft tracking and modern ground-based astrometry. The orbits of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are not as well determined. Reprocessing of historical observations is expected to lead to improvements in their orbits in the next several years.
Interplanetary Network Progress Report
- Pub Date:
- August 2009