Celestial Mechanics

Celestial mechanics is a branch of mathematics and astronomy that deals with the motions of celestial objects. The field applies principles of physics, gravitation, historically classical mechanics, to astronomical objects such as stars and planets to produce ephemeris data. Orbital mechanics (astrodynamics) is a subfield which focuses on the orbits of artificial satellites. Lunar theory is another subfield focusing on the orbit of the Moon.

For our latest developments/activities in this area, please see the listing at the end of this article.

Modern analytic celestial mechanics started over 300 years ago with Isaac Newton's Principia of 1687. The name "celestial mechanics" is more recent than that. Newton wrote that the field should be called "rational mechanics." The term "dynamics" came in a little later with Gottfried Leibniz, and over a century after Newton, Pierre-Simon Laplace introduced the term "celestial mechanics." Prior to Kepler there was little connection between exact, quantitative prediction of planetary positions, using geometrical or arithmetical techniques, and contemporary discussions of the physical causes of the planets' motion.

Solar system dynamics

The gravity force acting over eons has provided the solar system with an intricate dynamical structure, much of it revealed by recent space missions. Mathematical tools and physical models are needed for a complete understanding of the subject.

This is a multi-disciplinary subject that combines expertises from Geophysics, Dynamical Systems, and Numerical Simulations. We study the geophysical effects that modify the spin and the orbits of planets and satellites, in particular tidal effects and core-mantle friction.

See here a movie made by the NASA Science "Understanding orbits and Kepler's laws", for a brief historical review on the dynamics of the solar system.


Latest Celestial Mechanics Publications

Complete spin and orbital evolution of close-in bodies using a Maxwell viscoelastic rheology, Gwenaël Boué, Alexandre C. M. Correia, Jacques Laskar, Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy (2016), 126, 31-60e-Print: arXiv:1612.02558 [astro-ph].

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Regular Articles
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Radial velocity data analysis with compressed sensing techniques,N. C. Hara, G. Boué, J. Laskar, A. C. M. Correia, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2016), 464, 1220-1246 e-Print: arXiv:1609.01519 [astro-ph]

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Coupled orbital and spin evolution of the CoRoT-7 two-planet system using a Maxwell viscoelastic rheology, A. Rodríguez, N. Callegari Jr., A. C. M. Correia, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2016), 463, 3249-3259; e-Print: arXiv:1609.00319 [astro-ph]

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Regular Articles
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Secular and tidal evolution of circumbinary systems, Alexandre C. M. Correia, Gwenaël Boué, Jacques Laskar, Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy (2016), 126, 189-225; e-Print: arXiv:1608.03484 [astro-ph]

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Is the activity level of HD 80606 influenced by its eccentric planet?, P. Figueira, A. Santerne, A. Suárez Mascareño, J. Gomes da Silva, L. Abe, V. Zh. Adibekyan, P. Bendjoya, A. C. M. Correia, E. Delgado-Mena, J. P. Faria, G. Hebrard, C. Lovis, M. Oshagh, J.-P. Rivet, N. C. Santos, O. Suarez, A. A. Vidotto, Astronomy & Astrophysics (2016), 592, A43; e-Print: arXiv:1606.05549 [astro-ph].

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Regular Articles
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Latest Celestial Mechanics News & Events

Chaotic N-body Dynamics

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Speaker
Tjarda Boekholt (Aveiro U.)
Event date
Venue
GAP room
Event type

AbstractAs a new post-doc of the Physics department, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself scientifically. I will discuss my work on "applied dynamics", in which I use the AMUSE framework to model dense stellar systems.

From Planet-X to Planet Nine

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Speaker
Nuno Peixinho (Coimbra U.)
Event date
Venue
GAP room
Event type

Abstract: At the end of the 19th century the existence os a planet beyond Neptune was in debate. In 1930, Pluto was discovered, but too far from the prediction. In 1992 we found out that Pluto is actually a member of a huge belt of icy bodies orbiting beyond Neptune.

From Infinitely Large to Infinitely Small

Gr@v member António P. Morais gave a talk at Escola Secundária José Régio in Vila do Conde with title "Do Infinitamente Grande ao Infinitamente Pequeno - uma jornada pelas interações fundamentais na natureza". António was an invited speaker to participate in a sequence of seminars entitled "A Biblioteca convida...", and presented to 11th and 12th grade Science and Technology students the four fundamental interactions in nature and how have they shaped our Universe.

Dynamics of an isolated viscoelastic body

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Speaker
Lucas Ruiz dos Santos (Universidade Federal de Itajubá)
Event date
Venue
GAP room
Event type
Abstract: In this talk, we will discuss a simplified method to formulate the problem of a self-gravitating viscoelastic body: the Pseudo-rigid body method. We will see comparisons of this approach with others commonly presented in some papers and what is the qualitative and quantitative information that this model can provide. We will also remark that there is no need to restrict the problem to the planar case and how it can be easily generalized to the two-body problem.