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Tidal locking and Uranus

  1. Jul 15, 2008 #1
    Will ever Uranus be tidal-locked by the Sun?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 16, 2008 #2

    LowlyPion

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    This offers a good overview:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_locking

    The formula they show for Time to tidal locking in the case of Uranus would look to be dominated by the a^6 term describing its orbital semi-major axis.

    And this does not take into account the tidal locking of the other objects that are tidal locked to Uranus.

    I'd say the sun expiry would intervene long before there would be a tidal locking of Uranus to the sun.
     
  4. Jul 16, 2008 #3
    I did not mention the great distance of Uranus from the Sun, but its eccentric rotation axis. Uranus rotation axis nearly lies on its orbiting plane. So I am not sure whether one day Uranus is locked to the Sun just like Earth-Moon system or it is just free of that.
     
  5. Jul 17, 2008 #4

    LowlyPion

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    If it ever appears "locked" I'd have to wonder about the coincidence of it. The a^6 term - distance raised to the ^6 of its orbital semi-major axis [a rather large number] is offset only by Radius of it's mass in the denominator, raised to the ^5 - that is such a prodigious number to overcome that time to lock surely won't happen in the remaining Solar lifetime.

    As I mentioned as an additional perturbating factor, Uranus has several moons (that happen as it turns out to be tidally locked to it) and I would have to think that any anomalies on Uranus would be subjected to greater forces from them than would be exerted by the Sun so far distant.
     
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