How unstable is our solar system?

School of Mathematics Colloquium
Thursday, September 17, 2015 - 11:00
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 006
University of Chicago
Though the modern analytic celestial mechanics has been existing for more than 300 years since Newton, there are still many basic questions unanswered, for instance, there is still no rigorous mathematical proof explaining why our solar system has been stable for such a long time (five billion years) hence no guarantee that it would remain stable for the next five billion years. Instead, it is known that there are various instability behaviors in the Newtonian N-body problem. In this talk, we mention three types instability behaviors in Newtonian N-body problem. The first type we will talk about is simply chaotic motions, which include for instance the oscillatory motions, in which case, one body travels back and forth between neighborhoods of zero and infinity. The second type is “organized” chaotic motions, also known as Arnold diffusion or weak turbulence.  Finally, we will talk about our work on the existence of the most wild unstable behavior, non collision singularities, also called finite time blow up solution. The talk is mostly expository. Zero background on celestial mechanism or dynamical systems is needed to follow the lecture.