Journal Article

Least-action perihelion precession

Mikael Koskela and Arto Annila

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 417, issue 3, pages 1742-1746
Published in print November 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online October 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Least-action perihelion precession

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The perihelion precession of Mercury is reinspected using the original form of the principle of least action á la Maupertuis. The anomalous advancement of the apside line that is customarily accounted by the theory of general relativity is ascribed here to the gravitational effect due to the entire Universe. When the least action is written in the reference frame of the Sun, the residual precession in the planet’s orbital motion can be related to all bodies that are dispersed throughout the Universe. The universal potential energy, just as a local potential, contributes to the precession in accordance with the virial theorem.

Keywords: gravitation; cosmology: theory; large-scale structure of Universe

Journal Article.  4227 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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