AAS 205th Meeting, 9-13 January 2005
Session 56 Planets and Solar System Objects
Poster, Tuesday, January 11, 2005, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[56.03] Apache Point Observatory Lunar Laser-ranging Operation (APOLLO)

A. E. Orin, E. L. Michelsen, T. W. Murphy, E. L. Williams (U Calif San Diego), E. G. Adelberger, C. D. Hoyle, E. Swanson (U Washington), J. Battat, C. W. Stubbs (Harvard U)

Lunar Laser Ranging (LLR) is currently the best means available for testing Einstein's Strong Equivalence Principle, on which general relativity rests. LLR also provides the strongest limits to date on variability of the gravitational constant, the best measurement of the de Sitter precession rate, and is relied upon to generate accurate astronomical ephemerides. The Apache Point Observatory Lunar Laser-ranging Operation (APOLLO) is a next-generation lunar laser ranging campaign. With millimeter range precision, we will improve tests of gravitational physics by an order of magnitude. To reach this level of precision, we will employ a novel array of avalanche photodiodes. We will utilize the 3.5 m telescope at the Apache Point Observatory (APO), located in southern New Mexico at an altitude of 2800 m. As a result of the large aperture telescope, excellent seeing conditions, and improved detector technology, APOLLO expects to detect 2--10 lunar return photons per laser pulse. Relative background immunity permits operation in daylight and at full moon, resulting in better sampling of the lunar orbit. These factors together will move LLR into a new regime of millimeter precision, pushing tests of gravity into a range where violations of general relativity are motivated by the introduction of scalar fields.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://physics.ucsd.edu/~tmurphy/apollo/. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

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