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Relativity in Modern Physics$
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Nathalie Deruelle and Jean-Philippe Uzan

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198786399

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198786399.001.0001

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The Kepler problem

The Kepler problem

(p.110) 12 The Kepler problem
Relativity in Modern Physics

Nathalie Deruelle

Jean-Philippe Uzan

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers Newton’s 1665 explanations of the dynamics in the laws governing the motion of a planet around the Sun, which were established by Johannes Kepler in 1618. The first law states that the motion is planar and the trajectories are ellipses. The second states that the area swept out by the radius vector per unit time is constant. Finally, the cube of the semi-major axis a is proportional to the square of the period P, a3 = (const)P2. The chapter begins with the reduced equations of motion before turning to the ellipses of Kepler. It then illustrates the Kepler problem in the Lagrangian formalism, as well as central forces.

Keywords:   Johannes Kepler, Kepler’s ellipses, planetary motion, Lagrangian formalism, central forces

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