Round-off sensitivity in the N-body problem
The solutions to the equations of motion of the gravitational N-body problem are extremely sensitive to very small changes in initial conditions, resulting in a near-exponential growth of deviations between neighboring trajectories in the system’s 6N-dimensional global phase space. We have started to investigate the character of this instability, and the relative contributions to the exponential growth given by two-body, three-body, and higher-order encounters. Here we present our first results on 3-body scattering, where we measured the total amplification factor of small perturbations in the initial conditions.
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