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Astron. Astrophys. 342, 34-40 (1999)

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The statistics of the gravitational field arising from an inhomogenous system of particles

A. Del Popolo 1,2 and M. Gambera 1,3

1 Istituto di Astronomia dell'Università di Catania, Città Universitaria, Viale A. Doria 6, I-95125 Catania, Italy
2 Dipartimento di Matematica, Università Statale di Bergamo, Piazza Rosate 2, I-24129 Bergamo, Italy
3 Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania and CNR-GNA, Viale A. Doria 6, I-95125 Catania, Italy

Received 13 March 1998 / Accepted 14 October 1998


In this paper we extend Chandrasekhar and von Neumann's analysis of the statistics of the gravitational field to systems in which particles (e.g. stars, galaxies) are not homogeneously distributed. We derive a distribution function [FORMULA] giving the joint probability that a test particle is subject to a force F and an associated rate of change of F given by dF /dt. We calculate the first moment of dF /dt to study the effects of inhomogenity on dynamical friction.

Key words: cosmology: large-scale structure of Universe – galaxies: interactions – galaxies: clusters: general – galaxies: star clusters – stars: statistics – methods: analytical

Send offprint requests to: A. Del Popolo, M. Gambera (mga@sunct.ct.astro.it)

This article contains no SIMBAD objects.


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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: December 22, 1998