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Quantum effects on Lagrangian points and displaced periodic orbits in the Earth-Moon system

Battista, Emmanuele and Dell' Agnello, Simone and Esposito, Giampiero and Simo, Jules (2015) Quantum effects on Lagrangian points and displaced periodic orbits in the Earth-Moon system. Physical Review D: Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology, 91 (8). ISSN 1550-2368

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Recent work in the literature has shown that the one-loop long distance quantum corrections to the Newtonian potential imply tiny but observable effects in the restricted three-body problem of celestial mechanics, i.e., at the Lagrangian libration points of stable equilibrium the planetoid is not exactly at equal distance from the two bodies of large mass, but the Newtonian values of its coordinates are changed by a few millimeters in the Earth-Moon system. First, we assess such a theoretical calculation by exploiting the full theory of the quintic equation, i.e., its reduction to Bring-Jerrard form and the resulting expression of roots in terms of generalized hypergeometric functions. By performing the numerical analysis of the exact formulas for the roots, we confirm and slightly improve the theoretical evaluation of quantum corrected coordinates of Lagrangian libration points of stable equilibrium. Second, we prove in detail that also for collinear Lagrangian points the quantum corrections are of the same order of magnitude in the Earth-Moon system. Third, we discuss the prospects to measure, with the help of laser ranging, the above departure from the equilateral triangle picture, which is a challenging task. On the other hand, a modern version of the planetoid is the solar sail, and much progress has been made, in recent years, on the displaced periodic orbits of solar sails at all libration points, both stable and unstable. The present paper investigates therefore, eventually, a restricted three-body problem involving Earth, Moon and a solar sail. By taking into account the one-loop quantum corrections to the Newtonian potential, displaced periodic orbits of the solar sail at libration points are again found to exist.