Orbital mechanics predictions of rare planetary alignments and their tidal effects
Planetary and lunar positions may be calculated using the Variations Séculaires des Orbites Planétaires algorithm of P. Bretagnon (VSOP87) and the Éphémérides Lunaires Parisiennes method of M. Chapront-Touzé and J. Chapront (ELP2000) as outlined by Jean Meeus in Astronomical Algorithms . Once the planetary positions are accurately determined, their tidal effects can be analyzed. Tidal fields do not add as scalars or vectors and their correct treatment is in the form of an equation that derives from manipulation of the gravitational stress-energy tensor. Two computer programs have been written: one which calculates the planetary positions only, bringing attention to conditions which are likely to optimize tidal forces, and the other which calculates planetary positions and estimates maximum relative tidal forces in arbitrary units. Both programs have been tested against known alignments in history and have been found accurate.
computer programs, celestial mechanics, astronomy, data processing
Lytle, T. (2000). Orbital mechanics predictions of rare planetary alignments and their tidal effects (Unpublished thesis). Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.