Scientists are not afraid of gravity.  Twelve thousand new solutions to the three-body problem

Describing the motion of three bodies under the influence of gravity is very difficult. Astronomers have been trying to deal with this problem, called the “three-body problem,” for more than three hundred years, ever since Isaac Newton wrote the fundamental laws that describe the motion of bodies.

If we also want to find a stable orbit in which the three bodies revolve around each other under the influence of gravity. The whole problem is that this problem does not have one correct solution. Instead, the laws of physics allow for different orbits of this type. To date, scientists already know hundreds of different scenarios of this type.

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But now, v Latest scientific article Published on advance print server arXiv An international team of mathematicians describes 12,000 amazing new solutions to the three-body problem.

Why is the three-body problem so difficult?

Take, for example, three stars orbiting each other in a triple system. At any moment, each body is affected by the gravity of two other bodies, each of which is also moving relative to the other bodies acting on it with its own gravity. Calculating the force of gravity acting on each component of the system, which changes with distance and with the movement of all components, is very difficult.

In their simulations, the researchers started with three stationary objects that, when released, begin to move under the influence of gravity. These creatures approach each other, fly close to each other, move away, and then return to each other over time. Scientists from Sofia University in Bulgaria used the power of a supercomputer to develop 12,000 solutions to the three-body problem. Furthermore, researchers believe that newer supercomputers will allow more solutions to be discovered.

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The only problem is that such solutions to the three-body problem are only useful when the orbits are stable, i.e. such that the motion of the described bodies is repeated periodically. However, in most cases, one of the objects is forced out of the system by gravity. Most often, it is the lighter element that reaches escape velocity from the system, leaving only the normal binary system behind. That is why scientists are now working on exactly this: testing the stability of all the solutions found.

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