Astronomical Units and Constants in a Relativistic Framework

N. Capitaine, B. Guinot
1995 Highlights of Astronomy  
In 1991, IAU Resolution A4 introduced General Relativity as the theoretical background for defining celestial space-time reference sytems. It is now essential that units and constants used in dynamical astronomy be defined in the same framework, at least in a manner which is compatible with the minimum degree of approximation of the metrics given in Resolution A4.This resolution states that astronomical constants and quantities should be expressed in SI units, but does not consider the use of
more » ... tronomical units. We should first evaluate the usefulness of maintaining the system of astronomical units. If this system is kept, it must be defined in the spirit of Resolution A4. According to Huang T.-Y., Han C.-H., Yi Z.-H., Xu B.-X. (What is the astronomical unit of length?, to be published inAsttron. Astrophys.), the astronomical units for time and length are units for proper quantities and are therefore proper quantities. We fully concur with this point of view. Astronomical units are used to establish the system of graduation of coordinates which appear in ephemerides: thegraduation unitsare not, properly speaking astronomical units. Astronomical constants, expressed in SI or astronomical units, are also proper quantities.
doi:10.1017/s1539299600010972 fatcat:nia4kz23ijdqddtitwzlqyv6cq