An implicit symplectic solver for high-precision long term integrations of the Solar System
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We present FCIRK16, a 16th-order implicit symplectic integrator for long-term high precision Solar System simulations. Our integrator takes advantage of the near-Keplerian motion of the planets around the Sun by alternating Keplerian motions with corrections accounting for the planetary interactions. Compared to other symplectic integrators (the Wisdom and Holman map and its higher order generalizations) that also take advantage of the hierarchical nature of the motion of the planets around the central star, our methods require solving implicit equations at each time-step. We claim that, despite this disadvantage, FCIRK16 is more efficient than explicit symplectic integrators for high precision simulations thanks to: (i) its high order of precision, (ii) its easy parallelization, and (iii) its efficient mixed-precision implementation which reduces the effect of round-off errors. In addition, unlike typical explicit symplectic integrators for near Keplerian problems, FCIRK16 is able to integrate problems with arbitrary perturbations (non necessarily split as a sum of integrable parts). We present a novel analysis of the effect of close encounters in the leading term of the local discretization errors of our integrator. Based on that analysis, a mechanism to detect and refine integration steps that involve close encounters is incorporated in our code. That mechanism allows FCIRK16 to accurately resolve close encounters of arbitrary bodies. We illustrate our treatment of close encounters with the application of FCIRK16 to a point mass Newtonian 15-body model of the Solar System (with the Sun, the eight planets, Pluto, and five main asteroids) and a 16-body model treating the Moon as a separate body. We also present some numerical comparisons of FCIRK16 with a state-of-the-art high order explicit symplectic scheme for 16-body model that demonstrate the superiority of our integrator when very high precision is required.