Perihelion precession in the special relativistic two-body problem

Foundations of Physics 28 (9):1407-1416 (1998)
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The classical two-body system with Lorentz-invariant Coulomb work function V = -k/ρ is solved in 3+1 dimensions using the manifestly covariant Hamiltonian mechanics of Stückelberg. Particular solutions for the reduced motion are obtained which correspond to bound attractive, unbound attractive, and repulsive scattering motion. A lack of perihelion precession is found in the bound attractive orbit, and the semiclassical hydrogen spectrum subsequently contains no fine structure corrections. It is argued that this prediction is indicative of the correct classical special relativistic two-body theory.



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