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An Introduction to Celestial Mechanics


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Table of Contents

Preface; 1. Newtonian mechanics; 2. Newtonian gravity; 3. Keplerian orbits; 4. Orbits in central force-fields; 5. Rotating reference frames; 6. Lagrangian mechanics; 7. Rigid body rotation; 8. Three-body problem; 9. Secular perturbation theory; 10. Lunar motion; Appendix A: useful mathematics; Appendix B: derivation of Lagrange planetary equations; Appendix C: expansion of orbital evolution equations; Bibliography; Index.

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A clear, concise introduction to all the major features of solar system dynamics, ideal for a first course.

About the Author

Richard Fitzpatrick is Professor of Physics at the University of Texas, Austin, where he has been a faculty member since 1994. He earned his Master's degree in Physics at the University of Cambridge and his DPhil in Astronomy at the University of Sussex. He is a longstanding Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and author of Maxwell's Equations and the Principles of Electromagnetism (2008).


'Fitzpatrick presents a clear exposition of the main principles of celestial mechanics ... Each chapter ends with a number of well-thought-out problems with a nice range of difficulty from straightforward to quite challenging. The author designed the book for upper-level undergraduates and beginning graduate students who have completed courses in classical mechanics and multivariate vector calculus. Professionals from other branches of astronomy will also find this a handy review and reference ... Highly recommended.' R. R. Erickson, Choice
'I found the text well written and illustrated, and the material has clearly undergone several tests in the classroom ... I recommend this stimulating book to anyone interested in making first steps in celestial mechanics.' Thomas Peters, Contemporary Physics
'This is a first-rate text to use as a senior-undergraduate text in celestial mechanics. I recommend it strongly without reservation.' The Observatory: A Review of Astronomy
'Fitzpatrick's text is excellent ... [his] exposition is relatively flawless in its execution ... [this book] is a valuable addition to the pedagogy of the field and has perhaps the clearest exposition of any celestial mechanics text for upper-level undergraduate students. For some students, Fitzpatrick will be approaching perfection.' Arlin Crotts, Physics Today

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