AGU Ref Shelf 1 - Global Earth Physics A Handbook of Physical Constants - T. Ahrens

AGU Ref Shelf 1 - Global Earth Physics A Handbook of Physical Constants - T. Ahrens

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The purpose of this Handbook is to provide, in highly accessible form, selected critical data for professional and student solid Earth and planetary geophysicists. Coverage of topics and authors were carefully chosen to fulfill these objectives.

These volumes represent the third version of the “Handbook of Physical Constants.”

Several generations of solid Earth scientists have found these handbooks to be the most frequently used item in their personal library. The first version of this Handbook was

edited by F. Birch, J. F. Schairer, and H. Cecil Spicer and published in 1942 by the Geological Society of America (GSA) as Special Paper 36. The second edition, edited

by Sydney P. Clark, Jr., was also published by GSA as Memoir 92 in 1966. Since 1966, our scientific knowledge of the Earth and planets has grown enormously, spurred

by the discovery and verification of plate tectonics and the systematic exploration of the solar system.

The present revision was initiated, in part, by a 1989 chance remark by Alexandra Navrotsky asking what the Mineral Physics (now Mineral and Rock Physics) Committee

of the American Geophysical Union could produce that would be a tangible useful product. At the time I responded, “update the Handbook of Physical Constants.” As soon as these words were uttered, I realized that I could edit such a revised Handbook. I thank Raymond Jeanloz for his help with initial suggestions of topics, the AGU’s

Books Board, especially Ian McGregor, for encouragement and enthusiastic support.

Ms. Susan Yamada, my assistant, deserves special thanks for her meticulous stewardship of these volumes. I thank the technical reviewers listed below whose efforts, in all cases, improved the manuscripts.

Thomas J. Ahrens, Editor

California Institute of Technology Pasadena

Carl Agee

Thomas J. Ahrens Orson Anderson

Don Anderson George H. Brimhall

John Brodholt J. Michael Brown

Bruce Buffett Robert Butler Clement Chase

Robert Creaser Veronique Dehant

Alfred G. Duba Larry Finger Michael Gaffey

Carey Gazis Michael Gurnis William W. Hay

Thomas Heaton Thomas Herring Joel Ita Andreas K. Kronenberg

Robert A. Lange1 John Longhi

Guenter W. Lugmair

Stephen Ma&well Gerald M. Mavko

Walter D. Mooney Herbert Palme Dean Presnall Richard H. Rapp

Justin Revenaugh Rich Reynolds Robert Reynolds

Yanick Ricard Frank Richter

William I. Rose, Jr.

George Rossman John Sass

Surendra K. Saxena Ulrich Schmucker

Ricardo Schwarz

Doug E. Smylie Carol Stein

Maureen Steiner

Lars Stixrude Edward Stolper

Stuart Ross Taylor Jeannot Trampert

Marius Vassiliou Richard P. Von Herzen

John M. Wahr Yuk Yung

Astrometric and Geodetic Properties of Earth and the Solar System

Charles F. Yoder


The mass, size and shape of planets and their satel- lites and are essential information from which one can consider the balance of gravity and tensile strength,

chemical makeup and such factors as internal tempera- ture or porosity. Orbits and planetary rotation are also useful clues concerning origin, internal structure and

tidal history. The tables compiled here include some of the latest results such as detection of densities of Plute Charon from analysis of HST images and the latest re-

sults for Venus’ shape, gravity field and pole orientation based on Magellan spacecraft data. Data concerning

prominent asteroids, comets and Sun are also included. Most of the material here is presented as tables. They

are preceded by brief explanations of the relevant geo- physical and orbit parameters. More complete explana- tions can be found in any of several reference texts on geodesy [log, 741, geophysics [56, 58, 1101 and celestial

mechanics [13, 8, 981.


External Gravity Field: The potential external of a non-spherical body [log, 571 at latitude 4 and longi-

tude X and distance ~(4, A) > & can be represented as a series with associated Legendre polynomials, P,j (sin $),

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