Equilibrium points and central configurations for the Lennard-Jones 2- and 3-body problems

Montserrat Corbera, Jaume Llibre, Ernesto Pérez-Chavela

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22 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we study the relative equilibria and their stability for a system of three point particles moving under the action of a Lennard-Jones potential. A central configuration is a special position of the particles where the position and acceleration vectors of each particle are proportional, and the constant of proportionality is the same for all particles. Since the Lennard-Jones potential depends only on the mutual distances among the particles, it is invariant under rotations. In a rotating frame the orbits coming from central configurations become equilibrium points, the relative equilibria. Due to the form of the potential, the relative equilibria depend on the size of the system, that is, depend strongly of the momentum of inertia I. In this work we characterize the relative equilibria, we find the bifurcation values of I for which the number of relative equilibria is changing, we also analyze the stability of the relative equilibria.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-266
JournalCelestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 2004


  • central configurations
  • relative equilibria
  • spectral stability

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