An Introduction to Celestial Mechanics

An Introduction to Celestial Mechanics

An Introduction to Celestial Mechanics

An Introduction to Celestial Mechanics

Excerpt

Today there are few specialists in Celestial Mechanics. Many of its problems, in the years to come, will be encountered first by the physicists and engineers concerned with missiles, artificial satellitess, and space vehicles; they will solve such problems one way or another. There are many physicists and engineers, few celestial mechanicians, and there will be many problems. It would be a pity if such non-specialists, faced with novel problems in celestial mechanics, were to derive no benefit from the two and a half centuries of high endeavor since Newton.

During this time celestial mechanics has received great attention from astronomers, physicists, and mathematicians. It has inspired brilliant researches, and has led to many advances in observational technique, in dynamics, and in pure and applied mathematics. Its successes have influenced human thought profoundly, coloring the popular outlooks of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and winning a possibly exaggerated prestige for mathematical physics within the family of sciences. As a principal field for the application of mathematical physics it has been eclipsed only during the present century, by the rise of quantum mechanics.

This introduction to celestial mechanics has been written not only for students of astronomy but also for non- specialists who may be interested in the subject or concerned with orbital problems. A partiality has therefore been shown for general methods, that show promise of utility in solving the new problems of the future. The book is aimed at readers, well grounded in fundamental physical principles, who may have little familiarity with astronomy. A knowledge is assumed of mathematics and of classical . . .

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