Let us consider, for simplicity, a restricted 3-body problem: Sun-Earth-asteroid, in which the Earth is on a circular orbit with radius and the asteroid is on a Keplerian elliptic orbit with semimajor axis .
The Hamiltonian has the form
is the perturbing function
If there is an intersection between the two orbits, the perturbing
has a first order polar singularity, so we can compute
its average over the fast variables
because it is
an improper convergent integral:
On the other hand, if we try to study the qualitative behavior of the solutions of Hamilton's equations by the classical averaging principle, we have to average the right hand side of the equations of motion, that is the derivatives of , which have second order polar singularities; so these integrals are absolutely divergent.
We have previously proved (see Gronchi and Milani 1998)
that is possible to give a generalized definition of averaged
solutions for planet-crossing orbits by showing that Hamilton's
equations built with the averaged perturbing function
Let us describe briefly this situation in the plane: we have the conservation of the component of the angular momentum, that is of the action variable ; so, for a given value of we have a maximum value of (say , corresponding to inclination zero.
The Kozai domain, where the averaged solutions can evolve, is represented by in this plane; in Figure 1 we have plotted also the ascending node crossing line and the descending one ( and respectively). If we call the interior of the connected components in which is divided by the node crossing lines we already know, as classical results, that is continuous in and differentiable in each .
Using a Wetherill approximation (see Wetherill 1967) and Kantorovich's method of singularity extraction we have shown that is differentiable in the closure of each in and, more important, that we can define piecewise smooth solutions of Hamilton's equations built with simply by extending to open regions including the node crossing lines the expressions of the derivatives in the right-hand sides of the equations in a smooth, but two-valued, way (see Gronchi and Milani 1998).
We can see in Figure 2 the level lines of the averaged Hamiltonian of a Jupiter crosser asteroid (or ``Centaur'') with semimajor axis = 7 AU; these lines have a corner when they go through a node crossing line and the presence of these corners has been detected analytically, by isolating, from the averaged Hamiltonian, the term that is responsible.
This term turns out to be the distance between the two straight lines that, according to Wetherill's approach, approximate the orbit of the Earth and of the asteroid in a neighborhood of the intersection points; thus it behaves like an absolute value function.