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Pioneer anomaly possibly found manifest in Saturn orbit.

  1. Nov 7, 2008 #1


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    Now it’s Saturn’s turn to flummox astrophysicists. The Russian astronomer Elean Pitjeva, who heads the Laboratory of Ephemeris Astronomy at the Institute of Applied Astronomy in St Petersburg, has analysed a huge data set of planetary observations dating back to 1913, including 3D observations of the Cassini spacecraft now orbiting Saturn.

    She says that the precession of Saturn’s perihileon, as predicted by general relativity, needs to be corrected to fit the data. The correction is tiny: -0.006 arcseconds per century.


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  3. Nov 8, 2008 #2
    Why was this not noticed before? Because the divergence is so small?

    Is there some particular reason that the observations were made by a E.V. Pitjeva but the Arxiv paper was written by Lorenzo Iorio?

    When do you think we should we expect an independent analysis of this data to confirm Pitjeva and Iorio are looking at the numbers correctly?

  4. Nov 8, 2008 #3


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    The pioneer anomaly was just a publicity of mine. In fact, the effect works in the opposite way as it would expect from the pioneer anomaly. But it's strange nonetheless.
  5. Nov 8, 2008 #4
    As stated by Iorio, caution is in order since the analysis should be repeated independently by other teams of astronomers and more Cassini data points should be, hopefully, added.
    By the way, two years of Cassini data are not just some sparse data points.

    Maybe Pitjeva does not agree with the interpretation by Iorio of her results. From the paper it seems clear that Iorio interpreted the data received by Pitjeva, but it is his own responsability: he did not write anything concerning a possible agreement by Pitjeva with him. or not. However, he correctly credited Pitjeva.
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