On Mercury's entrapment into its 3:2 spin-orbit resonance

Astronomy Unit Seminars
Benoît Noyelles
Carl Murray
January 22nd, 2016 at 14:30
GO Jones Room 610

This talk will present a study that I published last year [1], explaining how Mercury got trapped into its current rotation state, i.e. the 3:2 spin-orbit resonance. I will show how a realistic tidal model, in which the dissipation depends on the tidal frequency, affects the results and prompted us to revisit the literature. As a consequence, the current rotational state should have established very swiftly, within a few tens of Gyr. I will also show how observing the current rotation of Mercury gives us clues on its interior, and will make the parallel with the synchronous icy satellites.

1: Noyelles B., Frouard J., Makarov V.V. & Efroimsky M., 2014, Spin-orbit evolution of Mercury revisited, Icarus, 241, 26-44