9 CENTRAL FORCE MOTION
It was Newton’s fascination with planetary motion that led him to formulate his laws of motion and the law of universal gravitation. His success in explaining Kepler’s empirical laws of planetary motion was an overwhelming argument in favor of the new mechanics and marked the beginning of modern mathematical physics. Planetary motion and the more general problem of motion under a central force continue to play an important role in most branches of physics and turn up in such topics as particle scattering, atomic structure, and space navigation.
In this chapter we apply newtonian physics to the general problem of central force motion. We shall start by looking at some of the general features of a system ...