The globular star clusters of the Milky Way contain hundreds of thousands of stars held together by gravitational interactions, and date from the time when the Milky Way was forming. This text describes the theory astromers need for studying globular star clusters. The gravitational million-body problem is an idealised model for understanding the dynamics of a cluster with a million stars. After introducing the million-body problem from various view-points, the book systematically develops the tools needed for studying the million-body problems in nature, and introduces the most important theoretical models. Including a comprehensive treatment of few-body interactions, and developing an intuitive but quantitative understanding of the three-body problem, the book introduces numerical methods, relevant software, and current problems. Suitable for graduate students and researchers in astrophysics and astromy, this text also has important applications in the fields of theoretical physics, computational science and mathematics.
Douglas Heggie is Professor of Mathematical Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Piet Hut is Professor of Astrophysics at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.