Department

Physics

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-28-2017

Abstract

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.

Comments

Submitted to Classical and Quantum Gravity

arXiv:1706.09421v1 [astro-ph.IM] 28 Jun 2017

Version

Pre-print

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