Small-N collisional dynamics - IV. Order in the realm of not-so-small-N

Nathan W.C. Leigh, Aaron M. Geller, Michael M. Shara, Lukas Baugher, Vianny Hierro, De'Andre Ferreira, Elizabeth Teperino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In this paper, the fourth in the series, we continue our study of combinatorics in chaotic Newtonian dynamics. We focus once again on the chaotic four-body problem in Newtonian gravity assuming finite-sized particles, and interactions that produce direct collisions between any two particles. Our long-term goal is to predict the probability of a given collision event occurring over the course of an interaction, as a function of the numbers and properties of the particles. In previous papers, we varied the number of interacting particles, as well as the distributions of particle radii and masses. Here, we refine the methods developed in these preceding studies, and arrive at a final and robust methodology that can be used to study collisional dynamics in a variety of astrophysical contexts, ranging from stars in star clusters, galaxies in galaxy groups and clusters, and even the collisional growth of planetesimals in protoplanetary discs. We further present and refine the concept of a collision rate diagram, the primary tool we use to quantify the relative rates for different collision scenarios to occur. The agreement between our final theoretical model and the results of numerical scattering simulations is excellent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3062-3068
Number of pages7
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018


  • Binaries (including multiple): close
  • Globular clusters: general
  • Gravitation
  • Scattering -methods: analytical
  • Stars: kinematics and dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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