Re: Line-of-nodes Question

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.

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

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.


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