Astrophysics and Space Science

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 201–224 | Cite as

Families of periodic planetary-type orbits in the three-body problem and their stability

  • John D. Hadjidemetriou


Several families of the planar general three-body problem for fixed values of the three masses are found, in a rotating frame of reference, where the mass of two of the bodies is small compared to the mass of the third body. These families were obtained by the continuation of a degenerate family of periodic orbits of three bodies where two of the bodies have zero masses and describe circular orbits around a third body with finite mass, in the same direction.

The above families represent planetary systems with the body with the large mass representing the Sun and the two small bodies representing two planets or comets. One section of a family is shown to represent the Jupiter family of comets and also a model for the Sun-Jupiter-Saturn system is found.

The stability analysis revealed that stability exists for small masses and small eccentricities of the two planets. Planetary systems with relatively large masses and eccentricities are proved to be unstable. In particular, the Jupiter family of comets, for small masses of the two small bodies, and the Sun-Jupiter-Saturn system are proved to be stable. Also, it was shown that resonances are not necessarily associated with instabilities.


Stability Analysis Periodic Orbit Large Mass Small Body Small Mass 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • John D. Hadjidemetriou
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

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