December 2019 Archives

Finally On An Ethereal Orrery

Over the course of the year, my fellow students and I have been experimenting with an ethereal orrery which models the motion of heavenly bodies using nought but Sir N-----'s laws of gravitation and motion. Whilst the consequences of those laws are not generally subject to solution by mathematical reckoning, we were able to approximate them with a scheme that admitted errors of the order of the sixth power of the steps in time by which we advanced the positions of those bodies.
We have thus far employed it to model the solar system itself, uniformly distributed bodies of matter and the accretion of bodies that are close to Earth's orbit about the Sun. Whilst we were most satisfied by its behaviour, I should now like to report upon an altogether more surprising consequence of its engine's action.

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