Year: 2009 Pages: 13
The highly technical 1859 Le Verrier paper was written in French, and astronomers and theorists have gone on from the study of the Solar System to the study of the Universe. The partial translation given here throws light on Le Verrier's analysis and thought processes, and points out that the masses he used for Earth and Mercury are quite different from present day values, possibly leading to a different fit to the old data. A 1924 paper by a professor of Celestial Mechanics critiques both the Einstein and the Le Verrier analyses, and a 1993 paper gives a different and better fit to some of Le Verrier's data. Nonetheless, the effect of errors in planet masses seems to give new condition equations that do not change the perihelion discrepancy by a large amount. The question now is whether or not the excess shift of the perihelion of Mercury has been properly explained in terms of General Relativity, or if there are other reasons for the observations, such as effects from a comet, or the asteroid belt, etc.