On the VLBI measurement of the Solar System acceleration

We propose new estimates of the secular aberration drift, mainly due to the rotation of the Solar System about the Galactic center, based on up-to-date VLBI observations and and improved method of outlier elimination. We fit degree-2 vector spherical harmonics to extragalactic radio source proper motion field derived from geodetic VLBI observations spanning 1979-2013. We pay particular attention to the outlier elimination procedure to remove outliers from (i) radio source coordinate time series and (ii) the proper motion sample. We obtain more accurate values of the Solar system acceleration compared to those in our previous paper. The acceleration vector is oriented towards the Galactic center within 7 deg. The component perpendicular to the Galactic plane is statistically insignificant. We show that an insufficient cleaning of the data set can lead to strong variations in the dipole amplitude and orientation, and statistically biased results.

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Date added: Fri, 11 Oct 13