# ASTR450/ASTR688O:

Celestial
Mechanics and Orbital
Dynamics, Spring 2000

**Prof: ** Doug Hamilton

Phone: (301) 405-1548

Email:
hamilton@astro.umd.edu

Office: CSS 1245

Office Hours: Drop by Anytime!

**Textbooks:** *Danby (Celestial Mechanics), *

Murray and Dermott (Orbital Dynamics)

## ASTR450/ASTR688O Course Description

The solar system is a very dynamic place. The planets orbit the Sun
along elliptical orbits but, on longer timescales, their orbits
oscillate and precess -- some chaotically -- due to mutual
gravitational perturbations. Asteroids are perturbed by resonant
forces onto orbits which cross the Earth's orbit; occasionally these
objects strike our planet with deadly consequences. Jupiter tosses
some comets into the Sun and ejects others from the solar system.
Planets can also capture comets as temporary moons; some escape again
while others are less lucky (like Shoemaker-Levy 9 which crashed into
Jupiter in 1994). Ocean tides raised by the Moon are increasing the
Earth-Moon distance by 3.7cm/year, thereby causing the length of our
day to slowly increase. The same effect has driven the moons of
Jupiter into resonance with one another, generating enough heat to
power Io's volcanos. In Celestial Mechanics (ASTR450/ASTR688O), we
will study these and other important orbital phenomena. The course
will emphasize analytical calculations, numerical simulations, and
computer programming techniques. The prerequisite for ASTR450 is the
consent of the instructor.
## Some Topics that we will cover in this class:

- Gravitational and Non-Gravitational Forces
- Two-body Problem (Energy + Angular Momentum)
- Three-body Problem (Roche Lobes, Zero Velocity Curves)
- Many-body Problem
- Orbital Elements + Orbital Perturbation Theory
- Tidal Forces and the Evolution of the Moon's orbit
- Orbital Resonances and the ``Capture'' of Pluto
- Resonant Sculpting of the Asteroid Belt
- Future of the Solar System - Chaos!

## Grading Policy:

ASTR450 is an upper level undergraduate class while ASTR688O is a
graduate class. The two classes will share lectures, homework
assignments, and the midterm and final exams. Because the homework
assignments should be less difficult for graduate students, ASTR688O
has an additional class project. Details of the project will be
discussed in class. The grading for the two classes will be according
to the following table.
Assignment |
ASTR450 | ASTR688O |

Homework |
35% | 25% |

Midterm |
15% | 10% |

Final |
35% | 30% |

Participation |
15% | 10% |

Class Project |
0% | 25% |

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Last modified: Sun Jan 30 11:23:34 2000