Where is Starman?

Follow Starman as he shoots across the Solar System in his trusty Tesla Roadster.

Our previous entry is based on dubious data. Apparently, Elon’s tweet does not report the correct orbital parameters. You can see this by calculating the \(C_3\) that corresponds to the reported periapsis and apoapsis radii, and verifying that the obtained \(C_3\) is much, much higher.

However, JPL reportedly received an orbit fix, and has performed a preliminary, low-fidelity propagation that leads to the following orbital elements (Geometric, Earth-Mean Equator and Equinox of J2000) at epoch 2018-Feb-09 23:45:01.0000 TDB:

JD = 2458159.489594907      Julian Day Number, TDB
EC = 2.647486804652587E-01  Eccentricity
QR = 9.860588520496463E-01  Periapsis distance, (AU)
IN = 2.424872612161389E+01  Inclination (deg)
OM = 3.582144541378262E+02  Longitude of Ascending Node (deg)
W  = 1.363703978776156E+02  Argument of Perifocus, w (deg)
Tp = 2458153.692627305165   Time of periapsis (JD TDB)
N  = 6.346050715251113E-01  Mean motion, n (deg/day)
MA = 3.678785039794062E+00  Mean anomaly, M (deg)
TA = 6.556257062441905E+00  True anomaly, nu (deg)
A  = 1.341118099146852E+00  Semi-major axis, a (AU)
AD = 1.696177346244057E+00  Apoapsis distance (AU)
PR = 5.672819461319965E+02  Sidereal orbit period (day)

Now we have an apoapsis distance of about \(1.70\) AU (as opposed to the originally-reported \(2.61\) AU). Stay tuned for more data and plots, as soon as we verify the information generated by JPL.