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On the stability of the gravitational system of many bodies

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In this paper, a gravitational system is understood as a set of point bodies that interact according to Newton's law of attraction and have a negative value of the total energy. The question of the stability (nonstability) of a gravitational system of general position is discussed by direct computational experiment. A gravitational system of general position is a system in which the masses, initial positions, and velocities of bodies are chosen randomly from given ranges. A new method for the numerical solution of ordinary differential equations at large time intervals has been developed for the computational experiment. The proposed method allowed, on the one hand, to ensure the fulfillment of all conservation laws by a suitable correction of solutions, on the other hand, to use standard methods for the numerical solution of systems of differential equations of low approximation order. Within the framework of this method, the trajectory of a gravitational system in phase space is assembled from parts, the duration of each of which can be macroscopic. The constructed trajectory, generally speaking, is discontinuous, and the points of joining of individual pieces of the trajectory act as branch points. In connection with the latter circumstance, the proposed method, in part, can be attributed to the class of Monte Carlo methods. The general conclusion of a series of computational experiments has shown that gravitational systems of general position with a number of bodies of 3 or more, generally speaking, are unstable. In the framework of the proposed method, special cases of zero-equal angular momentum of a gravitational system with a number of bodies of 3 or more, as well as the problem of motion of two bodies, are specially considered. The case of numerical modeling of the dynamics of the solar system in time is considered separately. From the standpoint of computational experiments based on analytical methods, as well as direct numerical methods of high-order approximation (10 and higher), the stability of the solar system was previously demonstrated at an interval of five billion years or more. Due to the limitations on the available computational resources, the stability of the dynamics of the planets of the solar system within the framework of the proposed method was confirmed for a period of ten million years. With the help of a computational experiment, one of the possible scenarios for the disintegration of the solar systems is also considered.

Keywords: numerical methods, ordinary differential equations, Monte Carlo method
Citation in English: Plokhotnikov K.E. On the stability of the gravitational system of many bodies // Computer Research and Modeling, 2021, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 487-511
Citation in English: Plokhotnikov K.E. On the stability of the gravitational system of many bodies // Computer Research and Modeling, 2021, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 487-511
DOI: 10.20537/2076-7633-2021-13-3-487-511

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