Spin-driven tidal pumping: Tidally driven changes in planetary spin coupled with secular interactions between planets

Richard Greenberg, Christa Van Laerhoven, Rory Barnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In a multiplanet system, tides acting on the inner planet can significantly affect the orbital evolution of the entire system. While tides usually damp eccentricities, a novel mechanism identified by Correia et al. (Astrophys J Lett 744, article id. L23, 2012) tends to raise eccentricities as a result of the tides' effect on the inner planet's rotation. Our analytical description of this spin-driven tidal (SDT) effect shows that, while the inner planet's eccentricity undergoes pumping, the process is more completely described by an exchange of strength between the two eigenmodes of the dynamical system. Our analysis allows derivation of criteria for two-planet coplanar systems where the SDT effect can reverse tidal damping, and may preclude the effect's being significant for realistic systems. For the specific case quantified by Correia et al., the effect is strong because of the large adopted tidal time lag, which may not be appropriate for the assumed Saturn-like inner planet. On the other hand, the effective Q for any given planet in exotic circumstances is very uncertain, so the SDT effect could play a role in planetary evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-348
Number of pages18
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Dissipative forces
  • Planetary systems
  • Planets
  • Secular theory
  • Tides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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