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An orbit that is defined in a highly precise manner with due regard taken for accurate constants and observational data, and precision computational techniques including perturbations.

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An orbit that can be rapidly and inexpensively computed on the basis of simplifying assumptions (e.g., two-body motion, circular orbit, rectilinear orbit, three-body motion approximated by two two-body orbits, etc.) and yields an indication of the general feasibility of a system based upon the orbit without having to carry out a full-blown definitive orbit computation.


  1. A periodical publication of astronomical data designed primarily for air navigation, but often used in marine navigation. 2. A joint publication of the U.S. Naval Observatory and H. M. Nautical Almanac Office, Royal Greenwich Observatory, designed primarily for air navigation. In general the information is similar to that of the Nautical Almanac, but is given to a precision of 1' of arc and 1s of time, at intervals of 10m (values for the sun and Aries are given to a precision of 0.1').


Either of the two points on an orbit where a line in the orbit plane, perpendicular to the line of nodes, and passing through the focus, intersects the orbit.


That point in the elliptical orbit of a body about the sun farthest from the sun. That point nearest the sun is called PERIHELION.


In an elliptical orbit, the point in the orbit which is the farthest distance from the focus, where the attracting mass is located. The apocenter is at one end of the major axis of the orbital ellipse. The opposite is PERICENTER, PERIFOCUS, PERIAPSIS. Also called APOAPSIS, APOFOCUS


That orbital point of a non-circular orbit farthest from the center of attraction. Opposite is PERIGEE


A periodical publication of ephemeral astronomical data. If information is given in a form and to a precision suitable for marine navigation, it is called a nautical almanac. See also nautical almanac; if designed primarily for air navigation, it is called an air almanac. See also EPHEMERIS, ASTRONOMICAL ALMANAC.


The point of the orbit of one member of a double star system at which the stars are farthest apart. That point at which they are nearest together is called PERIASTRON.


Either of the two orbital points nearest or farthest from the center of attraction, the perihelion and aphelion in the case of an orbit about the sun, and the perigee and apogee in the case of an orbit about the earth. The line connecting these two points is called LINE OF APSIDES.


  1. The apparent displacement of a celestial body in the direction of motion of the earth in its orbit caused by the motion of the earth combined with the finite velocity of light. When, in addition to the combined effect of the velocity of light and the motion of the earth, account is taken of the motion of the celestial body in space during the interval that the light is traveling to the earth from the luminous body, as in the case of planets, the phenomenon is termed planetary aberration. The aberration due to the rotation of the earth on its axis is termed diurnal aberration or daily aberration. The aberration due to the revolution of the earth about the sun is termed annual aberration. The aberration due to the motion of the center of mass of the solar system in space is termed secular aberration but is not taken into account in practical astronomy.
  2. The convergence to different foci, by a lens or mirror, of parallel rays of light. In a single lens having spherical surfaces, aberration may be caused by differences in the focal lengths of the various parts of the lens: rays passing through the outer part of the lens come to a focus nearer the lens than do rays passing through its central part. This is termed spherical aberration and, being due to the faulty figure of the lens, is eliminated by correcting that figure. A lens so corrected is called an aplanatic lens. Aberration may also result from differences in the wavelengths of light of different colors: light of the shorter wavelengths (violet end of the spectrum) comes to a focus nearer the lens than light of the longer wavelengths (red end of the spectrum). This is termed chromatic aberration, and is practically eliminated over a moderate range of wavelengths by using a composite lens, called an achromatic lens, composed of parts having different dispersive powers.

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