n-body problem

(redirected from 3 body problem)
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n-body problem

Any problem in celestial mechanics that involves the determination of the trajectories of n point masses whose only interaction is gravitational attraction. The bodies in the Solar System are an example if it is assumed that the masses of the planets, etc., are concentrated at their centers of mass. A general solution exists for the two-body problem and in special cases a solution can be found for the three-body problem. The complete solution for a larger number is normally considered impossible.

n-body problem

[′en ¦bad·ē ‚präb·ləm]
(mechanics)