© 2013

Space-Time Reference Systems


Part of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Library book series (AAL)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Michael Soffel, Ralf Langhans
    Pages 1-10
  3. Michael Soffel, Ralf Langhans
    Pages 11-47
  4. Michael Soffel, Ralf Langhans
    Pages 49-60
  5. Michael Soffel, Ralf Langhans
    Pages 61-89
  6. Michael Soffel, Ralf Langhans
    Pages 91-113
  7. Michael Soffel, Ralf Langhans
    Pages 115-153
  8. Michael Soffel, Ralf Langhans
    Pages 155-174
  9. Michael Soffel, Ralf Langhans
    Pages 175-196
  10. Michael Soffel, Ralf Langhans
    Pages 197-233
  11. Michael Soffel, Ralf Langhans
    Pages 235-237
  12. Michael Soffel, Ralf Langhans
    Pages 239-244
  13. Back Matter
    Pages 245-314

About this book


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.



Astrometry satellites Celestial Reference Systems Celestial mechanics Geodesy applied Hipparcos Satellite IAU International Astronomical Union Precession of Earth Space Time reference frames Spatial coordinate systems Star Maps Theory behind GPS Universal Time definition accuracy of clocks precision time keeping

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Technische Universität DresdenDresdenGermany
  2. 2., Institut fuer Planetare GeodäsieTechnische Universität DresdenDresdenGermany

About the authors

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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