Relativistic formulation of coordinate light time, Doppler, and astrometric observables up to the second post-Minkowskian order

Hees, S.; Bertone, Stefano; Le Poncin-Lafitte, C. (2014). Relativistic formulation of coordinate light time, Doppler, and astrometric observables up to the second post-Minkowskian order. Physical review. D - particles, fields, gravitation, and cosmology, 89(6) American Physical Society 10.1103/PhysRevD.89.064045

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Given the extreme accuracy of modern space science, a precise relativistic modeling of observations is required. In particular, it is important to describe properly light propagation through the Solar System. For two decades, several modeling efforts based on the solution of the null geodesic equations have been proposed but they are mainly valid only for the first order Post-Newtonian approximation. However, with the increasing precision of ongoing space missions as Gaia, GAME, BepiColombo, JUNO or JUICE, we know that some corrections up to the second order have to be taken into account for future experiments. We present a procedure to compute the relativistic coordinate time delay, Doppler and astrometric observables avoiding the integration of the null geodesic equation. This is possible using the Time Transfer Function formalism, a powerful tool providing key quantities such as the time of flight of a light signal between two point-events and the tangent vector to its null-geodesic. Indeed we show how to compute the Time Transfer Functions and their derivatives (and thus range, Doppler and astrometric observables) up to the second post-Minkowskian order. We express these quantities as quadratures of some functions that depend only on the metric and its derivatives evaluated along a Minkowskian straight line. This method is particularly well adapted for numerical estimations. As an illustration, we provide explicit expressions in static and spherically symmetric space-time up to second post-Minkowskian order. Then we give the order of magnitude of these corrections for the range/Doppler on the BepiColombo mission and for astrometry in a GAME-like observation.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Astronomy

UniBE Contributor:

Bertone, Stefano


500 Science > 520 Astronomy




American Physical Society




Pierre Fridez

Date Deposited:

20 Jun 2018 13:40

Last Modified:

24 Oct 2019 05:56

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Fundamental problems and general formalism, Approximation methods, equations of motion, Experimental studies of gravity




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