Tidal excitation of the obliquity of Earth-like planets in the habitable zone of M-dwarf stars - INSU - Institut national des sciences de l'Univers Access content directly
Journal Articles Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A Year : 2022

Tidal excitation of the obliquity of Earth-like planets in the habitable zone of M-dwarf stars

Abstract

Close-in planets undergo strong tidal interactions with the parent star that modify their spins and orbits. In the two-body problem, the final stage for tidal evolution is the synchronisation of the rotation and orbital periods, and the alignment of the planet spin axis with the normal to the orbit (zero planet obliquity). The orbital eccentricity is also damped to zero, but over a much longer timescale, that may exceed the lifetime of the system. For non-zero eccentricities, the rotation rate can be trapped in spin-orbit resonances that delay the evolution towards the synchronous state. Here we show that capture in some spin-orbit resonances may also excite the obliquity to high values rather than damp it to zero. Depending on the system parameters, obliquities of 60º-80º can be maintained throughout the entire lifetime of the planet. This unexpected behaviour is particularly important for Earth-like planets in the habitable zone of M-dwarf stars, as it may help to sustain temperate environments and thus more favourable conditions for life.
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insu-03850268 , version 1 (13-11-2022)

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Ema F. S. Valente, Alexandre C. M. Correia. Tidal excitation of the obliquity of Earth-like planets in the habitable zone of M-dwarf stars. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, 2022, 665, ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/202244010⟩. ⟨insu-03850268⟩
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