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Numerics: How do I renormalize the following DGL

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This question is more about how to tackle a problem numerically.

In a small project I wanted to simulate the coorbital motion of Janus and Epimetheus. This is basically a three body problem. I choose Saturn to be fixed at the origin, let $r_1$ and $r_2$ be the location vectors of janus and epimetheus, respectively. Since the effect occurs when Janus and Epimetheus are very close together I picked relative coordinates for a better resolution, i.e. $r=r_1-r_2$ and $R=r_1+r_2$. Now I get the following equations of motion:

$$ \frac {d^2}{dt^2} \binom{R}{r} = - G (m_2\pm m_1) \frac R {R^3} - 4 M G \left(\frac {r+R}{(r+R)^3} \mp \frac {r-R}{(r-R)^3}\right ) $$

where $m_i$ corresponds to the masses of the moons, $M$ is the mass of Saturn and $G$ the gravitational constant. The problem arises when I try to solve this numerically. One has to deal with values of completely different magnitudes, i.e. $M \sim e^{28}$ and $m_i \sim e^{17}$. And $r$, $R$ are in the regions of 0 to 150 000.

To be honest I am not sure if this is the place forum to discuss such numerical problems.

More Information:

Code is written in Matlab and I use a standard ODE solver to obtain the result. However this is breaking down because the step size cannot be reduced under machine precision. (I find this not to be surprising because one has to deal with the already mentioned orders of magnitude).

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
asked Nov 30, 2011 in Theoretical Physics by bios (5 points) [ no revision ]
I closed it here as it is cross-posted on Physics.SE (where it is more on-topic than here):http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/17663/numerics-how-do-i-renormalize-the-following-dgl.

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
Any way to migrate this one over to P.SE?

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)
bios, thank you for asking. However: 1) More information is needed (in which language you are doing the simulation, which problems do you encounter, etc...). 2) Please put formulas inside the post, not as a link (to do so use `$ inline formula $` or `$$ full line formula $$`. 3) Once you fix it, perhaps http://physics.stackexchange.com/ is a better place to ask it (as TP.SE is aimed at research-level questions, see [FAQ](http://theoreticalphysics.stackexchange.com/faq)).

This post has been migrated from (A51.SE)

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