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      Phenomenology of the Lense-Thirring effect in the Solar System

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          Abstract

          Recent years have seen increasing efforts to directly measure some aspects of the general relativistic gravitomagnetic interaction in several astronomical scenarios in the solar system. After briefly overviewing the concept of gravitomagnetism from a theoretical point of view, we review the performed or proposed attempts to detect the Lense-Thirring effect affecting the orbital motions of natural and artificial bodies in the gravitational fields of the Sun, Earth, Mars and Jupiter. In particular, we will focus on the evaluation of the impact of several sources of systematic uncertainties of dynamical origin to realistically elucidate the present and future perspectives in directly measuring such an elusive relativistic effect.

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          First Year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) Observations: Determination of Cosmological Parameters

          WMAP precision data enables accurate testing of cosmological models. We find that the emerging standard model of cosmology, a flat Lambda-dominated universe seeded by nearly scale-invariant adiabatic Gaussian fluctuations, fits the WMAP data. With parameters fixed only by WMAP data, we can fit finer scale CMB measurements and measurements of large scle structure (galaxy surveys and the Lyman alpha forest). This simple model is also consistent with a host of other astronomical measurements. We then fit the model parameters to a combination of WMAP data with other finer scale CMB experiments (ACBAR and CBI), 2dFGRS measurements and Lyman alpha forest data to find the model's best fit cosmological parameters: h=0.71+0.04-0.03, Omega_b h^2=0.0224+-0.0009, Omega_m h^2=0.135+0.008-0.009, tau=0.17+-0.06, n_s(0.05/Mpc)=0.93+-0.03, and sigma_8=0.84+-0.04. WMAP's best determination of tau=0.17+-0.04 arises directly from the TE data and not from this model fit, but they are consistent. These parameters imply that the age of the universe is 13.7+-0.2 Gyr. The data favors but does not require a slowly varying spectral index. By combining WMAP data with other astronomical data sets, we constrain the geometry of the universe, Omega_tot = 1.02 +- 0.02, the equation of state of the dark energy w = -1), and the energy density in stable neutrinos, Omega_nu h^2 < 0.0076 (95% confidence limit). For 3 degenerate neutrino species, this limit implies that their mass is less than 0.23 eV (95% confidence limit). The WMAP detection of early reionization rules out warm dark matter.
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            Lunar laser ranging: a continuing legacy of the apollo program.

            On 21 July 1969, during the first manned lunar mission, Apollo 11, the first retroreflector array was placed on the moon, enabling highly accurate measurements of the Earthmoon separation by means of laser ranging. Lunar laser ranging (LLR) turns the Earthmoon system into a laboratory for a broad range of investigations, including astronomy, lunar science, gravitational physics, geodesy, and geodynamics. Contributions from LLR include the three-orders-of-magnitude improvement in accuracy in the lunar ephemeris, a several-orders-of-magnitude improvement in the measurement of the variations in the moon's rotation, and the verification of the principle of equivalence for massive bodies with unprecedented accuracy. Lunar laser ranging analysis has provided measurements of the Earth's precession, the moon's tidal acceleration, and lunar rotational dissipation. These scientific results, current technological developments, and prospects for the future are discussed here.
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              A confirmation of the general relativistic prediction of the Lense-Thirring effect.

               I Ciufolini,  E Pavlis (2004)
              An important early prediction of Einstein's general relativity was the advance of the perihelion of Mercury's orbit, whose measurement provided one of the classical tests of Einstein's theory. The advance of the orbital point-of-closest-approach also applies to a binary pulsar system and to an Earth-orbiting satellite. General relativity also predicts that the rotation of a body like Earth will drag the local inertial frames of reference around it, which will affect the orbit of a satellite. This Lense-Thirring effect has hitherto not been detected with high accuracy, but its detection with an error of about 1 per cent is the main goal of Gravity Probe B--an ongoing space mission using orbiting gyroscopes. Here we report a measurement of the Lense-Thirring effect on two Earth satellites: it is 99 +/- 5 per cent of the value predicted by general relativity; the uncertainty of this measurement includes all known random and systematic errors, but we allow for a total +/- 10 per cent uncertainty to include underestimated and unknown sources of error.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                16 September 2010
                2010-09-30
                10.1007/s10509-010-0489-5
                1009.3225

                http://arxiv.org/licenses/nonexclusive-distrib/1.0/

                Custom metadata
                Astrophys. Space Sci. 331:351-395, 2011
                LaTex, 51 pages, 14 figures, 22 tables. Invited review, to appear in Astrophysics and Space Science (ApSS). Some uncited references in the text now correctly quoted. One reference added. A footnote added
                gr-qc astro-ph.EP physics.space-ph

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