Moving Planets Around
An Introduction to N-Body Simulations Applied to Exoplanetary Systems
378 pp., 7 x 9 in, 56 color illus.
- Published: September 1, 2020
- Published: September 1, 2020
An introduction to the laws of celestial mechanics and a step-by-step guide to developing software for direct use in astrophysics research.
This book offers both an introduction to the laws of celestial mechanics and a step-by-step guide to developing software for direct use in astrophysics research. Moving Planets Around closes the gap between the exhaustive exposition of theory in conventional textbooks and real-world applications. The text is written engagingly in dialogue form, presenting the research journey of the fictional Alice, Bob, and Professor Starmover. Moving Planets Around not only educates students on the laws of Newtonian gravity, it also provides all that they need to start writing their own software, from scratch, for simulating the dynamical evolution of planets and exoplanets, stars, or other heavenly bodies.
The first half of the book develops a fully functional N-body integrator, using state-of-the art integration techniques, explaining both the techniques and the reasons that they are useful. The second half of the book focuses on using an advanced integration scheme to conduct real research, leading students in an investigation of the long-term dynamical stability of extrasolar circumbinary planets. At the end of the journey, students will be ready to design, conduct, and publish peer-review quality research.
This book offers an authoritative introduction to numerical methods for solving the gravitational N-body problem, one of the most important tools in theoretical astrophysics. It teaches the required basic principles of physics, numerical analysis, and good scientific coding practice, and does so in an original format that should be accessible and useful to students from high school to graduate school.
Scott Tremaine, Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, author with James Binney of Galactic Dynamics
In Moving Planets Around, Alice and Bob take the place of Aristotle and Plato in their transcendental dialogue of finding the best numerical integration method to calculate the orbital evolution of planetary systems. An amazing achievement and an absolute joy to read; for novice numericist all the way to the hardcore computational astrophysicist. I expect scholars quickly to pick up 'MPA' as a standard reference for their N-body integrations.
Simon Portegies Zwart, Professor at Leiden University, author with Steve McMillan of Astrophysical Recipes: the Art of AMUSE
This book is a true jewel aimed at undergraduate as well as graduate level. It focuses and boils down all the essential aspects of the numerical solution of orbits in a planetary system while deploying a state-of-the-art programming environment. This book is for those who are interested in planet dynamics and want to save themselves from one or two years of headache.
Tobias C. Hinse, Research Professor at Chungnam National University, South Korea