Fr.: théorie épicyclique
The theory that describes the Galactic dynamics, that is the orbits of stars and gas clouds in the → Galactic disk, as well as the spiral → density wave. Formulated by Bertil Lindblad (1895-1965), the epicyclic theory assumes that orbits are circular with small deviations. Star orbits are described by the superposition of two motions: i) a rotation of the star (epicenter) around the Galactic center at the circular angular velocity, Ω, and ii) a retrograde elliptical motion at → epicyclic frequency, κ. The epicyclic motion in the Galactic plane occurs in a retrograde sense to conserve → angular momentum. In general Ω and κ are different and, therefore, orbits do not close. However, seen by an observer who rotates with the epicenter, orbits are closed ellipses.