We study the effects of general relativistic gravity on the Hill stability, that is, the stability of a multibody system against a close approach of one orbit to another, which has been hitherto studied mainly in Newtonian mechanics and applied to planetary systems. We focus in this paper on the three-body problem and extend the Newtonian analyses to the general relativistic regime in the post-Newtonian approximation. The approximate sufficient condition for the relativistic Hill stability of three-body systems is derived analytically and its validity and usefulness are confirmed numerically. In fact, relativity makes the system more unstable than Newtonian mechanics in the sense of the Hill stability as expected by our theoretical prediction. The criterion will be useful to analyze the results of large-scale N-body simulations of dense environments, in which the stability of three-body subsystems is important.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)