The Three Body Problem


This Visualization wants to show the classical problem of motion of three celestial bodies under their mutual gravitational attraction. This dynamical system has a huge practical relevance, since scientist have been wondered if our solar system is stable. And on the other hand everyone knows these systems.

The Programm

There are 2 different modes

  1. Visualization of Sun, Earth and Moon
  2. Visualization of Sun, Jupiter and Asteroid

Get an impression how the program looks like:

Sun, Earth and Moon

These are the best known bodies of our solar system. This example is not used for visualization of chaos, but it's very useful for demonstrating the movements of the celestial bodies. The user can also watch a solar eclipse (see picture).

Sun, Jupiter and Asteroid

Visualization of the movement of the three celestial bodies Sun, Jupiter and Asteroid. The underlying numerical calculations based on the restricted three body problem, that means Jupiter and Asteroid have no influence on the Sun and the Asteroid has no in?uence on Jupiter. You can choose between 6 different presets for the position and velocity of the asteroid. You can also modify the presets and explore, how a small difference of the initial conditions will be increased by time. The chaotic behaviour of this system is clearly visible.

Two small examples of the program (because of size compression, the animations have low quality):




How to build the programm

  • extract the archive
  • create the makefile with qmake
  • run the so created makefile with make all
  • run the so created application ThreeBodyVisualization


  • The ChaoticScatteringVisualization is published under the terms of the GNU General Public License, see, Copyright (C) 2007, Sylvia Glasser

If you have serious question, contact me mailto:emailansylvia[at]web(dot)de

External Links