Tidal constraints on the masses of extrasolar planets

D. E. Trilling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Tidal theory predicts that the orbits of close extrasolar giant planets will circularize on timescales that can be comparable to the ages of those systems. Additionally, planets that are close enough and massive enough can spin up their central stars. Since the eccentricities of extrasolar planet orbits are determined by the radial velocity technique and since stellar rotation rates are observed, or at least derived, limits on the masses of close extrasolar planets can be placed. We find upper limits on the masses of eight extrasolar planets, including limiting the masses of v And b, HD 75289b, HD 187123b, and 51 Peg b to less than 1.48, 1.21, 0.59, and 0.51 Jupiter masses, respectively. There is a contradiction in the constrained mass of HD 217107b, in that its eccentricity is apparently too high. This anomalously high eccentricity could be real and caused by other planets in that system; or it could be an artifact of fitting a one-orbit solution to multiplanet data. The tidal limits placed on all these extrasolar planets are only as good as the knowledge of the stellar parameters (age, rotation period), which in some cases is not very good; better detailed knowledge of stars hosting planets will be necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L61-L64
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART 2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2000


  • Celestial mechanics, stellar dynamics
  • Planetary systems
  • Solar system: formation
  • Solar system: general
  • Stars: individual (Gliese 86, HD 75289, HD 130322, HD 187123, HD 192263, HD 195019, HD 217107, v Andromedae, 51 Pegasi)
  • Stars: rotation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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