Committee ChairGreenberg, Richard
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn both our solar system and extra-solar planetary systems, tides may have a variety of effects, driving complex orbital evolution and geophysical processes. For extra-solar planets with orbits that pass very close to their host stars, tides have reduced orbital eccentricities and semi-major axes, and the rates of tidal evolution may change dramatically as orbits evolve. Understanding how the orbits have evolved and, ultimately, discerning the origins of close-in extra-solar planets require accounting for all the complexity of tidal evolution. The accompanying dissipation of tidal energy within the planets has probably also affected their internal structures. In some cases, tidal dissipation may account the apparent discrepancy between predictions and observations of the radii of extra-solar planets that transit their host stars. Evolutionary models for these planets that allow determinations of their internal structures and composition must include highly variable tidal heating rates. The same tidal evolution and heating probably also affects the orbital and geophysical properties of rocky extra-solar planets and may play a key role in determining whether such a planet can harbor life. As tides reduce a planet's semi-major axis, the planet may eventually pass so close to its host star that the star's gravity completely disrupts the planet, leading to the destruction of many planets. Tidal destruction has left a discernible signature on the distribution of extra-solar planetary orbits, and so interpretations of the distribution in terms of the origins of planets must include consideration of the effects of tidal destruction.
Degree ProgramPlanetary Sciences