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An Introduction to Celestial Mechanics


By: Richard Fitzpatrick(Author)

288 pages, 73 b/w illustrations, 8 tables

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Sep 2012 | #201138 | ISBN-13: 9781107023819
Availability: Usually dispatched within 48 hours
NHBS Price: £45.99 $60/€52 approx

About this book

This accessible text on classical celestial mechanics, the principles governing the motions of bodies in the Solar System, provides a clear and concise treatment of virtually all of the major features of solar system dynamics. Building on advanced topics in classical mechanics such as rigid body rotation, Langrangian mechanics and orbital perturbation theory, this text has been written for advanced undergraduates and beginning graduate students in astronomy, physics, mathematics and related fields. Specific topics covered include Keplerian orbits, the perihelion precession of the planets, tidal interactions between the Earth, Moon and Sun, the Roche radius, the stability of Lagrange points in the three-body problem and lunar motion. More than 100 exercises allow students to gauge their understanding and a solutions manual is available to instructors. Suitable for a first course in celestial mechanics, this text is the ideal bridge to higher level treatments.



1. Newtonian mechanics
2. Newtonian gravity
3. Keplerian orbits
4. Orbits in central force-fields
5. Rotating reference frames
6. Lagrangian mechanics
7. Rigid body rotation
8. Three-body problem
9. Secular perturbation theory
10. Lunar motion

Appendix A: useful mathematics
Appendix B: derivation of Lagrange planetary equations
Appendix C: expansion of orbital evolution equations

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Richard Fitzpatrick is Professor of Physics at the University of Texas, Austin, where he has been a faculty member since 1994. He earned his Master's degree in Physics at the University of Cambridge and his DPhil in Astronomy at the University of Sussex. He is a longstanding Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and author of Maxwell's Equations and the Principles of Electromagnetism (2008).

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