Convex central configurations for the n-body problem

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We give a simple proof of a classical result of MacMillan and Bartky (Trans. Amer. Math. Soc. 34 (1932) 838) which states that, for any four positive masses and any assigned order, there is a convex planar central configuration. Moreover, we show that the central configurations we find correspond to local minima of the potential function with fixed moment of inertia. This allows us to show that there are at least six local minimum central configurations for the planar four-body problem. We also show that for any assigned order of five masses, there is at least one convex spatial central configuration of local minimum type. Our method also applies to some other cases. © 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.




Xia, Z. (2004). Convex central configurations for the n-body problem. Journal of Differential Equations, 200(2), 185–190.

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