The image above shows the track of MAP on the sky relative to the point opposite the Sun in the sky. The coordinates are the geocentric ecliptic latitude of MAP and ecliptic longitude of MAP minus the ecliptic longitude of the Sun + 180o. MAP enters this plot from the right after its lunar flyby. The shaded gray dot in the center of the graph is the penumbral shadow of the Earth at L2. In the center of the shadow the solar power to run MAP is cut by 80% so the trajectory is planned to avoid eclipses for as long as possible. The black part of the curve shows the actual track of MAP to date while the red part shows the predicted path of MAP for the next 15 months.
The short term wiggles on the track are due to the Earth revolving about the Earth-Moon barycenter once per month.
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© 2002 Edward L. Wright. Last modified 29 June 2002