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Numerical theory of rotation of the deformable Earth with the two-layer fluid core. Part 2: Fitting to VLBI data

G. A. Krasinsky, M. V. Vasilyev

Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy, 96(3), 219-237 (2006)

Keywords: Earth’s rotation, Nutation, Precession, Universal time, General relativity, VLBI

About the paper


VLBI-based offsets of the Celestial Pole positions, as well as the variations of UT (series of Goddard Space Flight Center, 1984–2005) are processed applying the Earth’s rotation theory (ERA) 2005 constructed by the numerical integration of the differential equations of rotation of the deformable Earth. The equations were published earlier (Krasinsky 2006) as the first part of the work. The resulting weighted root mean square (WRMS) errors of the residuals dθdθ , sinθdϕsinθdϕ for the angles of nutation θθ and precession ϕϕ are 0.136 and 0.129 mas, respectively. They are significantly less than the corresponding values 0.172 and 0.165 mas for the IAU 2000 model adopted as the international standard. In ERA 2005, the angles θθ , ϕϕ are related to the inertial ecliptical frame J2000, the angle ϕϕ including the precessional secular motion. As the published observational data are theory-dependent being related to IAU 2000, a procedure to confront the numerical theory to the observed Celestial Pole offsets and UT variations is developed. Processing the VLBI data has shown that beside the well known 435-day FCN mode of the free core nutation, there exits a second mode, FICN, caused by the inner part of the fluid core, with the period of 420 day close to that of the FCN mode. Beatings between the two modes are responsible for the apparent damping and excitation of the free oscillations, and are implicitly modeled by ERA 2005. The nutational and precessional motions in ERA 2005 are proved to be mutually consistent but only in case the relativistic correction for the geodetic precession is applied. Otherwise, the overall WRMS error of the residuals would increase by 35%. Thus, the effect of the geodetic precession in the Earth rotation is confirmed experimentally. The other finding is the reliable estimation δc = 3.844 ± 0.028° of the phase lag δc of the tides in the fluid core. When processing the UT variations, a simple model of the elastic interaction between the mantle and fluid core at their common boundary made it possible to satisfactory describe the largest observed oscillations of UT with the period of 18.6 year, reducing the WRMS error of the UT residuals to the value 0.18 ms (after removing the secular, annual and semi-annual terms).