Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy

, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 1–16 | Cite as

Global chaoticity in the Pythagorean three-body problem

  • S. J. Aarseth
  • J. P. Anosova
  • V. V. Orlov
  • V. G. Szebehely


The effects of small changes in the initial conditions of the Pythagorean three-body problem are investigated by computer simulations. This problem consists of three interacting bodies with masses 3, 4 and 5 placed with zero velocities at the apices of a triangle with sides 3, 4 and 5. The final outcome of this motion is that two bodies form a binary and the third body escapes. We attempt to establish regions of the initial positions which give regular and chaotic motions. The vicinity of a small neighbourhood around the standard initial position of each body defines a regular region. Other regular regions also exist. Inside these regions the parameters of the triple systems describing the final outcome change continuously with the initial positions. Outside the regular regions the variations of the parameters are abrupt when the initial conditions change smoothly. Escape takes place after a close triple approach which is very sensitive to the initial conditions. Time-reversed solutions are employed to ensure reliable numerical results and distinguish between predictable and non-predictable motions. Close triple approaches often result in non-predictability, even when using regularization; this introduces fundamental difficulties in establishing chaotic regions.

Key words

Three-body problem chaotic motions regularization 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. J. Aarseth
    • 1
  • J. P. Anosova
    • 2
  • V. V. Orlov
    • 2
  • V. G. Szebehely
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of AstronomyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeEngland
  2. 2.Astronomical ObservatorySt. Petersburg UniversitySt. Petersburg, PetrodvoretsRussia
  3. 3.Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering MechanicsUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinU.S.A.

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