Space-Time Reference Systems

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Springer Science & Business Media, Oct 19, 2012 - Science - 314 pages

The high accuracy of modern astronomical spatial-temporal reference systems has made them considerably complex. This book offers a comprehensive overview of such systems. It begins with a discussion of ‘The Problem of Time’, including recent developments in the art of clock making (e.g., optical clocks) and various time scales. The authors address the definitions and realization of spatial coordinates by reference to remote celestial objects such as quasars. After an extensive treatment of classical equinox-based coordinates, new paradigms for setting up a celestial reference system are introduced that no longer refer to the translational and rotational motion of the Earth. The role of relativity in the definition and realization of such systems is clarified.

The topics presented in this book are complemented by exercises (with solutions). The authors offer a series of files, written in Maple, a standard computer algebra system, to help readers get a feel for the various models and orders of magnitude.

Beyond astrometry, the main fields of application of high-precision astronomical spatial-temporal reference systems and frames are navigation (GPS, interplanetary spacecraft navigation) and global geodynamics, which provide a high-precision Celestial Reference System and its link to any terrestrial spatial-temporal reference system. Mankind’s urgent environmental questions can only be answered in the context of appropriate reference systems in which both aspects, space and time, are realized with a sufficiently high level of accuracy. This book addresses all those interested in high-precision reference systems and the various techniques (GPS, Very Long Baseline Interferometry, Satellite Laser Ranging, Lunar Laser Ranging) necessary for their realization, including the production and dissemination of time signals.


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Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Time
Chapter 3 SpaceTime
Chapter 4 Barycentric Dynamical Reference System
Chapter 5 Classical Astronomical Coordinates
Chapter 6 Astrometry
Chapter 7 Celestial Reference System
Chapter 8 Terrestrial Reference System
Chapter 10 Astronomical Software Yearbooks
Chapter 11 Astronomical Constants
List of Acronyms
Appendix A Solutions to Exercises
Appendix B Description of the AstroRef Package

Chapter 9 From the GCRS to the ITRS

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About the author (2012)

Prof. Dr. phil. nat. Michael Soffel is the director of the Lohrmann Observatory of the Technical University Dresden. He is an internationally known expert in relativistic celestial mechanics, relativistic astronomy and geodesy and experimental gravity research. He is the author of the book "Relativity in Astrometry, Celestial Mechanics and Geodesy", Springer-Verlag (1989).
Dr. Ing. Ralf Langhans is working in the field of planetary geodesy and has been teaching astronomical geodesy and various courses in engineering geodesy.

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