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Sohrab Shahshahani (UMASS Amherst), Analysis & PDE Seminar
November 8, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Title: Tidal energy in Newtonian two-body motion
Abstract: In this work, based on an essential linear analysis by Christodoulou, we study the tidal energy for the motion of two gravitating incompressible fluid balls with free boundaries, obeying the Euler-Poisson equations. The orbital energy is defined as the mechanical energy of the center of mass of the two bodies. When the fluids are replaced by point masses, according to the classical analysis of Kepler and Newton, the conic curve describing the trajectories of the bodies is a hyperbola when the orbital energy is positive and an ellipse when the orbital energy is negative. If the point masses are initially very far, then the orbital energy, which is conserved in the case of point masses, is positive corresponding to hyperbolic motion. However, in the motion of fluid balls the orbital energy is no longer conserved, as part of the conserved energy is used in deforming the boundaries of the bodies. This energy is called the tidal energy. If the tidal energy becomes larger than the total energy during the evolution, the orbital energy must change its sign, signaling a qualitative change in the orbit of the bodies. We will show that under appropriate conditions on the initial configuration this change of sign occurs. Our analysis relies on an a-priori estimates which we establish up to the point of closest approach. This is joint work with Shuang Miao from EPFL.