Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lagrange points

The Italian-French mathematician Josef Lagrange discovered the existence of five special "Lagrange points" (aka Lagrangian points) in the vicinity of two orbiting bodies where a third, smaller body can orbit at a fixed distance from the larger ones. More precisely, Lagrange Points mark positions where the gravitational pull of the two large bodies precisely cancels the centripetal acceleration required to rotate with them. Poet Catherine Daly considers these points in a poem:  

Lagrange Points  by Catherine Daly

More of Catherine Daly's math-related poems -- with titles "Celestial Mechanics," "Laplace," "Orthogonal Curvalinear Coordinates," "In Particular Coordinate Systems," "Zero Order Bessel Functions," "Calculus' Metaphysics," and "Legendre" -- may be found here.

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