Qualitative study of the planar isosceles three-body problem

Carles Simó, Regina Martinez

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33 Citations (Scopus)


We consider the particular case of the planar three body problem obtained when the masses form an isosceles triangle for all time. Various authors [1, 2, 12, 8, 9, 13, 10] have contributed in the knowledge of the triple collision and of several families of periodic orbits in this problem. We study the flow on a fixed level of negative energy. First we obtain a topological representation of the energy manifold including the triple collision and infinity as boundaries of that manifold. The existence of orbits connecting the triple collision and infinity gives some homoclinic and heteroclinic orbits. Using these orbits and the homothetic solutions of the problem we can characterize orbits which pass near triple collision and near infinity by pairs of sequences. One of the sequences describes the regions visited by the orbit, the other refers to the behaviour of the orbit between two consecutive passages by a suitable surface of section. This symbolic dynamics which has a topological character is given in an abstract form and after it is applied to the isosceles problem. We try to keep globality as far as possible. This strongly relies on the fact that the intersection of some invariant manifolds with an equatorial plane (v=0) have nice spiraling properties. This can be proved by analytical means in some local cases. Numerical simulations given in Appendix A make clear that these properties hold globally. © 1988 Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-251
JournalCelestial mechanics
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 1987


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