Michel Henon was an astronomer at Nice observatory in southern France. He came to the subject of fractals via investigations of the orbits of astronomical objects. The strange attractor most often linked with Henon's name comes not from a differential equation, but from the world of discrete mathematics - difference equations. The Henon map is an example of a very simple dynamic system that exhibits strange behavior. The orbit traces out a characteristic banana shape, but on close inspection, the shape is made up of thicker and thinner parts. Upon magnification, the thicker bands resolve to still other thick and thin components. And so it goes forever! The equations that generate this strange pattern perform the mathematical equivalent of repeated stretching and folding, over and over again.
xnew = 1 + y - a*x*x ynew = b*xThe default parameters are a=1.4 and b=.3.