Re: Line-of-nodes Question

From: Rainer.Kresken@esa.int
Date: Wed May 08 2002 - 04:30:46 EDT


>Is the following correct:
>The line-of-nodes is a point on the Earth surface at an inclination of 0d
>where a satellite's orbital path intersects the equator.

No.
the line-of-nodes is a line defined in inertial space, connecting the
points where the orbit crosses the earth's equatorial plane.

>For a prograde
>orbit, as the low-altitude satellite approaches the equator, the small
>(but definite) equatorial bulge of the Earth pulls on the satellite,
>causing the satellite's flight path to intersect the equator at a
>slightly earlier time (i.e., further west than without the equatorial
>bulge).

This is not correct.
The bulge of the earth causes the orbital plane of the satellite
to rotate in inertial space, similar to the precession of a spinning top.
 This effect does *not* reffer to the longitude of the crossing of earth's
equator and has nothing to do with the orbital period of the satellite.

Rainer


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