Tidal interactions and disruptions of giant planets on highly eccentric orbits

Joshua A. Faber*, Frederic A. Rasio, Bart Willems

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


We calculate the evolution of planets undergoing a strong tidal encounter using smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH), for a range of periastron separations. We find that outside the Roche limit, the evolution of the planet is well-described by the standard model of linear, non-radial, adiabatic oscillations. If the planet passes within the Roche limit at periastron, however, mass can be stripped from it, but in no case do we find enough energy transferred to the planet to lead to complete disruption. In light of the three new extrasolar planets discovered with periods shorter than two days, we argue that the shortest-period cases observed in the period-mass relation may be explained by a model whereby planets undergo strong tidal encounters with stars, after either being scattered by dynamical interactions into highly eccentric orbits, or tidally captured from nearly parabolic orbits. Although this scenario does provide a natural explanation for the edge found for planets at twice the Roche limit, it does not explain how such planets will survive the inevitable expansion that results from energy injection during tidal circularization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)248-262
Number of pages15
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2005


  • Extrasolar planets
  • Jovian planets
  • Planetary dynamics
  • Tides, solid body

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Tidal interactions and disruptions of giant planets on highly eccentric orbits'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this