A group of researchers have claimed that they have found a statistical solution for Newton’s three-body problem.
In the study, published in the journal Nature, the researchers got closer to find the statistical solution. In case you didn’t know, the three-body problem addresses the problem of how three similar objects or bodies will travel through space in a way that fits into our understanding of motion and gravity. The group of researchers addressed the problem as ‘the oldest open question in astrophysics,’ as it goes back centuries.
While the laws of motion have helped scientists to understand the relationships between a body of mass and the forces associated with it, trying to understand the relationships between body of mass and forces that are applied on different bodies lead to difficulties as the established equations related to mass and motions do not compute.
However, scientists from Hebrew University of Jerusalem have suggested that in an unstable chaotic three-body systems, one of the bodies eventually gets expelled which leaves a stable binary relationship between the bodies that are left. Astrophysicist Nicholas Stone said, “When we compared our predictions to computer-generated models of their actual movements, we found a high degree of accuracy.”
However, you should note that the general for three-body problem is still elusive as it is too chaotic to track correctly. Despite that, the researchers claimed that their statistical representation of an unstable three-body system will help other scientists who are interested in studies involved in three-body systems.
Stone continued, “Take three black holes that are orbiting one another. Their orbits will necessarily become unstable and even after one of them gets kicked out, we’re still very interested in the relationship between the surviving black holes.”