Tidal effects arise from differential and inelastic deformation of a planet by a perturbing body. The continuous action of tides modify the rotation of the planet together with its orbit until an equilibrium situation is reached. It is often believed that synchronous motion is the most probable outcome of the tidal evolution process, since synchronous rotation is observed for the majority of the satellites in the solar system. However, in the nineteenth century, Schiaparelli also assumed synchronous motion for the rotations of Mercury and Venus, and was later proven wrong. Rather, for planets in eccentric orbits, synchronous rotation is very unlikely. The rotation period and axial tilt of exoplanets is still unknown, but a large number of planets have been detected close to the parent star and should have evolved to a final equilibrium situation. Therefore, based on the well-studied cases in the solar system, we can make some predictions for exoplanets. Here we describe in detail the main tidal effects that modify the secular evolution of the spin and the orbit of a planet. We then apply our knowledge acquired from solar system situations to exoplanet cases. In particular, we will focus on two classes of planets, hot Jupiters (fluid) and super-Earths (rocky with atmosphere).
- Pub Date:
- December 2010
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics;
- Physics - Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics;
- Physics - Geophysics;
- Physics - Space Physics
- 30 pages, 19 figures. Chapter in Exoplanets, ed. S. Seager, to be published by University of Arizona Press