[Beowulf] nice representation of solutions to the 3-body problem (semi-off topic)

Peter St. John peter.st.john at gmail.com
Tue Mar 12 10:38:05 PDT 2013


This is a very nice, graphical, facile gallery of recently discovered
stable orbits for 3 unit point masses, solutions of the 3-body problem:
http://suki.ipb.ac.rs/3body/
You can just click on a thumbnail; my favorite so far is "dragonfly".
The "shape spheres" are a representation of the solution where the
coordinates on the sphere depend on the distances between masses, instead
of the locations of the masses; the "info" thumbnail explains all that. The
group mentioned is a homotopy group on the shape sphere, around "punctures"
where the orbit is degenerate because two point masses collide. But the
"physical" representation is just what you expect, curves showing the
orbits in xyz space.

Anyway, I mention this as an example of why mathematicians don't believe in
idle CPU time. We don't need no stinkin' data, we make our own data.

Peter
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