Astrophysics and Space Science

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 40–51 | Cite as

The use of integrals in numerical integrations of theN-body problem

  • Paul E. Nacozy


The numerical integration of systems of differential equations that possess integrals is often approached by using the integrals to reduce the number of degrees of freedom or by using the integrals as a partial check on the resulting solution, retaining the original number of degrees of freedom.

Another use of the integrals is presented here. If the integrals have not been used to reduce the system, the solution of a numerical integration may be constrained to remain on the integral surfaces by a method that applies corrections to the solution at each integration step. The corrections are determined by using linearized forms of the integrals in a least-squares procedure.

The results of an application of the method to numerical integrations of a gravitational system of 25-bodies are given. It is shown that by using the method to satisfy exactly the integrals of energy, angular momentum, and center of mass, a solution is obtained that is more accurate while using less time of calculation than if the integrals are not satisfied exactly. The relative accuracy is ascertained by forward and backward integrations of both the corrected and uncorrected solutions and by comparison with more accurate integrations using reduced step-sizes.


Differential Equation Angular Momentum Linearize Form Relative Accuracy Integration Step 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul E. Nacozy
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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