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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 13, issue 7 | Copyright
Ann. Geophys., 13, 713-716, 1995
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00585-995-0713-8
© European Geosciences Union 1995

  31 Jul 1995

31 Jul 1995

Space physics coordinate transformations: the role of precession

M. A. Hapgood M. A. Hapgood

Abstract. Raw data on spacecraft orbits and attitude are usually supplied in "inertial" coordinates. The normal geocentric inertial coordinate system changes slowly in time owing to the effects of astronomical precession and the nutation of the Earth's rotation axis. However, only precession produces a change that is significant compared with the errors in determining spacecraft position. We show that the transformations specified by Russell (1971) and Hapgood (1992) are strictly correct only if the epoch-of-date inertial system is used. We provide a simple formula for estimating the error in the calculated position if the inertial system for some other epoch is used. We also provide a formula for correcting inertial coordinates to the epoch-of-date from the standard fixed epoch of J2000.0.

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