Roche limit


Roche limit
/rohsh/; Fr. /rddawsh/, Astron.
the minimum distance below which a moon orbiting a celestial body would be disrupted by tidal forces or below which a moon would not have formed.
[1885-90; named after French astronomer Édouard Roche (1820-83), who first calculated it]

* * *

Minimum distance at which a large natural satellite can orbit its primary body without being torn apart by tidal forces.

If satellite and primary are of similar composition, the theoretical limit is about 2.5 times the radius of the larger body. The rings of Saturn, for example, lie inside Saturn's Roche limit and may be the debris of a demolished moon. The limit was first calculated by the French astronomer Édouard Roche (1820–53) in 1850.

* * *

      in astronomy, the minimum distance to which a large satellite can approach its primary body without being torn apart by tidal (tidal friction) forces. If satellite and primary are of similar composition, the theoretical limit is about 2 1/2 times the radius of the larger body. The rings of Saturn lie inside Saturn's Roche limit and may be the debris of a demolished moon. The limit was first calculated by the French astronomer Édouard Roche (1820–83). Artificial satellites are too small to develop substantial tidal stresses.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.