The Apache point observatory lunar laser-ranging operation (APOLLO) has produced a large volume of high-quality lunar laser ranging (LLR) data since it began operating in 2006. For most of this period, APOLLO has relied on a GPS-disciplined, high-stability quartz oscillator as its frequency and time standard. The recent addition of a cesium clock as part of a timing calibration system initiated a comparison campaign between the two clocks. This has allowed correction of APOLLO range measurements—called normal points—during the overlap period, but also revealed a mechanism to correct for systematic range offsets due to clock errors in historical APOLLO data. Drift of the GPS clock on ∼1000 s timescales contributed typically 2.5 mm of range error to APOLLO measurements, and we find that this may be reduced to ∼1.6 mm on average. We present here a characterization of APOLLO clock errors, the method by which we correct historical data, and the resulting statistics.
Classical and Quantum Gravity
- Pub Date:
- December 2017
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics;
- General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology
- 12 pages, 7 figures, submitted to Classical and Quantum Gravity