Dynamics of tidal synchronization and orbit circularization of celestial bodies

Bruno Escribano, Jozsef Vanyo, Idan Tuval, Julyan H.E. Cartwright, Diego L. González, Oreste Piro, Tamás Tél

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


We take a dynamical-systems approach to study the qualitative dynamical aspects of the tidal locking of the rotation of secondary celestial bodies with their orbital motion around the primary. We introduce a minimal model including the essential features of gravitationally induced elastic deformation and tidal dissipation that demonstrates the details of the energy transfer between the orbital and rotovibrational degrees of freedom. Despite its simplicity, our model can account for both synchronization into the 1:1 spin-orbit resonance and the circularization of the orbit as the only true asymptotic attractors, together with the existence of relatively long-lived metastable orbits with the secondary in p:q synchronous rotation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number036216
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 18 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics

Cite this