Lagrangian point

Lagrangian point
one of five points in the orbital plane of two bodies orbiting about their common center of gravity at which another body of small mass can be in equilibrium.
[1960-65; named after J. L. LAGRANGE; see -IAN]

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      in astronomy, a point in space at which a small body, under the gravitational influence of two large ones, will remain approximately at rest relative to them. The existence of such points was deduced by the French mathematician and astronomer Joseph-Louis Lagrange in 1772. In 1906 the first examples were discovered: these were minor planets moving in Jupiter's orbit, under the influence of Jupiter and the Sun. (See also Trojan planets.)

      In each system of two heavy bodies (e.g., Sun-Jupiter, or Earth-Moon) there exist five theoretical Lagrangian points, but only two are stable—i.e., will tend to retain small bodies despite slight perturbations by outside gravitational influences. Each stable point forms one tip of an equilateral triangle having the two massive bodies at the other vertices.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Lagrangian function — /leuh grayn jee euhn/, Physics. See kinetic potential. [1900 05; named after J. L. LAGRANGE; see IAN] * * * ▪ physics also called  Lagrangian        quantity that characterizes the state of a physical system. In mechanics, the Lagrangian function …   Universalium

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