An Efficient Tidal Dissipation Mechanism via Stellar Magnetic Fields

Craig D. Duguid, Nils B. de Vries, Daniel Lecoanet, Adrian J. Barker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent work suggests that inwardly propagating internal gravity waves (IGWs) within a star can be fully converted to outward magnetic waves if they encounter a sufficiently strong magnetic field. The resulting magnetic waves dissipate as they propagate outward to regions with lower Alfvén velocity. While tidal forcing is known to excite IGWs, this conversion and subsequent damping of magnetic waves have not been explored as a tidal dissipation mechanism. In particular, stars with sufficiently strong magnetic fields could fully dissipate tidally excited waves, yielding the same tidal evolution as the previously studied “traveling wave regime.” Here, we evaluate the viability of this mechanism using stellar models of stars with convective cores (F-type stars in the mass range of 1.2-1.6 M ), which were previously thought to be weakly tidally dissipative (due to the absence of nonlinear gravity-wave breaking). The criterion for wave conversion to operate is evaluated for each stellar mass using the properties of each star’s interior along with estimates of the magnetic field produced by a convective core dynamo under the assumption of equipartition between kinetic (convective) and magnetic energies. Our main result is that this previously unexplored source of efficient tidal dissipation can operate in stars within this mass range for significant fractions of their lifetimes. This tidal dissipation mechanism appears to be consistent with the observed inspiral of WASP-12b and more generally could play an important role in the orbital evolution of hot Jupiters—and to lower-mass ultra-short-period planets—orbiting F-type stars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL14
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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