Comet Calendar

Determining Tidal Friction From Observations

The friction experienced by tidally distorted stars and planets shapes the orbits of binary star and exoplanet systems. The effects of tidal coupling are evident over the entire life cycle, with clear signatures observable in systems as young as several million years and even increasing effects with age. Understanding tidal friction is a crucial component of understanding the population of exoplanets, stellar pulsations and oscillations, our own Solar System, and a host of other astrophysical phenomena. In spite of the widespread implications, at present neither theory nor empirical constraints provide a clear picture of the processes involved or the redistribution of angular momentum and dissipation of energy they drive, with possibilities spanning many orders of magnitude. We use observations of the shapes of the orbits of binary stars and star-planet systems, and the spins of their stars to measure tidal dissipation. In this talk I will present recent results from our research group on the dissipation in Sun-like stars and giant planets.

Sciences Building (SCI), 3.214A
800 W. Campbell Road, Richardson, Texas 75080-3021

Natural Sciences & Mathematics
Michael Kolodrubetz

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