Journal Article

Azimuthally symmetric theory of gravitation – I. On the perihelion precession of planetary orbits

G. G. Nyambuya

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 403, issue 3, pages 1381-1391
Published in print April 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online April 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2009.16196.x
Azimuthally symmetric theory of gravitation – I. On the perihelion precession of planetary orbits

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

From a purely non-general relativistic standpoint, we solve the empty space Poisson equation (∇2Φ= 0) for an azimuthally symmetric setting (i.e. for a spinning gravitational system like the Sun). We seek the general solution of the form Φ=Φ(r, θ). This general solution is constrained such that in the zeroth-order approximation it reduces to Newton's well-known inverse square law of gravitation. For this general solution, it is seen that it has implications on the orbits of test bodies in the gravitational field of this spinning body. We show that to second-order approximation, this azimuthally symmetric gravitational field is capable of explaining at least two things: (i) the observed perihelion shift of solar planets; (ii) the fact that the mean Earth–Sun distance must be increasing (this resonates with the observations of two independent groups of astronomers, who have measured that the mean Earth–Sun distance must be increasing at a rate between about 7.0 ± 0.2 m century−1 and 15.0 ± 0.3 m cy−1). In principle, we are able to explain this result as a consequence of the loss of orbital angular momentum; this loss of orbital angular momentum is a direct prediction of the theory. Further, we show that the theory is able to explain at a satisfactory level the observed secular increase in the Earth year (1.70 ± 0.05 ms yr−1). Furthermore, we show that the theory makes a significant and testable prediction to the effect that the period of the solar spin must be decreasing at a rate of at least 8.00 ± 2.00 s cy−1.

Keywords: ephemerides; planetary systems

Journal Article.  9365 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.