TY - JOUR

T1 - Spectral stability, spectral flow and circular relative equilibria for the Newtonian n-body problem

AU - Asselle, Luca

AU - Portaluri, Alessandro

AU - Wu, Li

N1 - Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Inc.

PY - 2022/11/15

Y1 - 2022/11/15

N2 - For the Newtonian (gravitational) n-body problem in the Euclidean d-dimensional space, d≥2, the simplest possible periodic solutions are provided by circular relative equilibria, (RE) for short, namely solutions in which each body rigidly rotates about the center of mass and the configuration of the whole system is constant in time and central (or, more generally, balanced) configuration. For d≤3, the only possible (RE) are planar, but in dimension four it is possible to get truly four dimensional (RE). A classical problem in celestial mechanics aims at relating the (in-)stability properties of a (RE) to the index properties of the central (or, more generally, balanced) configuration generating it. In this paper, we provide sufficient conditions that imply the spectral instability of planar and non-planar (RE) in R4 generated by a central configuration, thus answering some of the questions raised in [14, Page 63]. As a corollary, we retrieve a classical result of Hu and Sun [11] on the linear instability of planar (RE) whose generating central configuration is non-degenerate and has odd Morse index, and fix a gap in the statement of [6, Theorem 1] about the spectral instability of planar (RE) whose (possibly degenerate) generating central configuration has odd Morse index. The key ingredient is a new formula of independent interest that allows to compute the spectral flow of a path of symmetric matrices having degenerate starting point, and a symplectic decomposition of the phase space of the linearized Hamiltonian system along a given (RE) which is inspired by Meyer and Schmidt's planar decomposition [13] and which allows us to rule out the uninteresting part of the dynamics corresponding to the translational and (partially) to the rotational symmetry of the problem.

AB - For the Newtonian (gravitational) n-body problem in the Euclidean d-dimensional space, d≥2, the simplest possible periodic solutions are provided by circular relative equilibria, (RE) for short, namely solutions in which each body rigidly rotates about the center of mass and the configuration of the whole system is constant in time and central (or, more generally, balanced) configuration. For d≤3, the only possible (RE) are planar, but in dimension four it is possible to get truly four dimensional (RE). A classical problem in celestial mechanics aims at relating the (in-)stability properties of a (RE) to the index properties of the central (or, more generally, balanced) configuration generating it. In this paper, we provide sufficient conditions that imply the spectral instability of planar and non-planar (RE) in R4 generated by a central configuration, thus answering some of the questions raised in [14, Page 63]. As a corollary, we retrieve a classical result of Hu and Sun [11] on the linear instability of planar (RE) whose generating central configuration is non-degenerate and has odd Morse index, and fix a gap in the statement of [6, Theorem 1] about the spectral instability of planar (RE) whose (possibly degenerate) generating central configuration has odd Morse index. The key ingredient is a new formula of independent interest that allows to compute the spectral flow of a path of symmetric matrices having degenerate starting point, and a symplectic decomposition of the phase space of the linearized Hamiltonian system along a given (RE) which is inspired by Meyer and Schmidt's planar decomposition [13] and which allows us to rule out the uninteresting part of the dynamics corresponding to the translational and (partially) to the rotational symmetry of the problem.

KW - Central Configurations

KW - Spectral (linear) instability

KW - Spectral flow

KW - n-body problem

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U2 - 10.1016/j.jde.2022.07.032

DO - 10.1016/j.jde.2022.07.032

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85135711023

SN - 0022-0396

VL - 337

SP - 323

EP - 362

JO - Journal of Differential Equations

JF - Journal of Differential Equations

ER -