Volume 603, July 2017
|Number of page(s)||5|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||19 July 2017|
The rotation of planets hosting atmospheric tides: from Venus to habitable super-Earths
1 IMCCE, Observatoire de Paris, CNRS UMR 8028, PSL, 77 Avenue Denfert-Rochereau, 75014 Paris, France
2 Laboratoire AIM Paris-Saclay, CEA/DRF – CNRS – Université Paris Diderot, IRFU/SAp Centre de Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France
3 LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, PSL Research University, CNRS, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ. Paris 06, Univ. Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, 5 place Jules Janssen, 92195 Meudon, France
4 CIDMA, Departamento de Física, Universidade de Aveiro, Campus de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
Received: 12 April 2016
Accepted: 17 November 2016
The competition between the torques induced by solid and thermal tides drives the rotational dynamics of Venus-like planets and super-Earths orbiting in the habitable zone of low-mass stars. The resulting torque determines the possible equilibrium states of the planet’s spin. Here we have computed an analytic expression for the total tidal torque exerted on a Venus-like planet. This expression is used to characterize the equilibrium rotation of the body. Close to the star, the solid tide dominates. Far from it, the thermal tide drives the rotational dynamics of the planet. The transition regime corresponds to the habitable zone, where prograde and retrograde equilibrium states appear. We demonstrate the strong impact of the atmospheric properties and of the rheology of the solid part on the rotational dynamics of Venus-like planets, highlighting the key role played by dissipative mechanisms in the stability of equilibrium configurations.
Key words: planet-star interactions / planets and satellites: dynamical evolution and stability / planets and satellites: atmospheres / celestial mechanics
© ESO, 2017
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