I have found several right ascension and declination coordinates for the poles of bodies in the solar system, but there seems to be no comprehensive source that is easily uncovered with Google etc. containing any other than those of the planets and a handful of other bodies.

Most importantly i am missing them for the Moon, but i'd like them for all regular satellites and any other bodies if possible.

  • $\begingroup$ "Astrometry" tag is wrong. I can't think of an appropriate name for the dynamical properties of celestial bodies, so I'm not editing it myself. Astrometry is the field related to accurately measuring positions on the sky. Ephemeris is closer, since it's about using dynamical information to predict positions on the sky, but still doesn't cover it. $\endgroup$
    – Sean Lake
    Nov 14, 2017 at 21:37
  • $\begingroup$ I edited the tags. The question specifically asks about the Moon, so I added that as a tag. It also asks about orientation of the poles, so I added pole as a tag. $\endgroup$ Nov 15, 2017 at 10:58
  • $\begingroup$ Related: The RA and Dec of lunar poles. $\endgroup$ Nov 15, 2017 at 10:58

2 Answers 2


Collecting and reporting the requested information is the job of the IAU Working Group on Cartographic Coordinates and Rotational Elements. They issue reports every few years; the most recent report was in 2009. The report is currently available at usno.navy.mil and astrogeology.usgs.gov, and elsewhere. Table 1 provides data for the Sun and planets (including Pluto), table 2 for satellites, and table 3 for other solar system bodies.

The question asks specifically about the Moon. The Moon's orientation is hideously complex. I won't even begin to replicate the expression in table 2 of the cited report. The report specifically addresses the Moon's orientation, admitting that the expression in table 2 is approximate. The best source is an ephemeris such as JPL's Development Ephemeris. These data are available in the form of SPICE kernels.


Archinal, Brent Allen, et al. "Report of the IAU Working Group on Cartographic Coordinates and Rotational Elements: 2009." Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy 109.2 (2011): 101-135. DOI 10.1007/s10569-010-9320-4

  • $\begingroup$ What steps do you follow using the values in those tables to plot the rotation of the Moon (and other bodies)? $\endgroup$
    – posfan12
    Sep 25, 2018 at 1:35

Wikipedia has a nice table located here, and here. Maybe of further use is the list of references associated with these tables. There is also a nice illustration depicting the rotational axes of other planets shown here.


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