Analysis of the radio-metric tracking data from the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft at distances between 20--70 astronomical units from the Sun has consistently indicated the presence of an anomalous, small, and constant Doppler frequency drift. The drift is a blue-shift, uniformly changing at the rate of (5.99 +/- 0.01) x 10^{-9} Hz/s. The signal also can be interpreted as a constant acceleration of each particular spacecraft of (8.74 +/- 1.33) x 10^{-8} cm/s^2 directed toward the Sun. This interpretation has become known as the Pioneer anomaly. We provide a problem set based on the detailed investigation of this anomaly, the nature of which remains unexplained. (Refer to PDF file for exact formulas.)

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Also archived at: arXiv:physics/0502123 v5 6 Sep 2005 The work of SGT and JDA was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. MMN acknowledges support by the U.S. Department of Energy.ISSN:0002-9505 Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Physics and Astronomy (COS)


RIT – Main Campus