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Book Sections Year : 2010

Tidal Evolution of Exoplanets


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 19th century, Schiaparelli also assumed synchronous motion for the rotations of Mercury and Venus, and was later shown to be 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 Solar System well studied cases, 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).

Dates and versions

hal-00619530 , version 1 (06-09-2011)



Alexandre C. M. Correia, Jacques Laskar. Tidal Evolution of Exoplanets. edited by S. Seager. Exoplanets, Tucson, AZ : University of Arizona Press, pp. 239-266, 2010. ⟨hal-00619530⟩
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