Effective resonant stability of Mercury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Mercury is the unique known planet that is situated in a 3:2 spin-orbit resonance nowadays. Observations and models converge to the same conclusion: the planet is presently deeply trapped in the resonance and situated at the Cassini state 1, or very close to it. We investigate the complete non-linear stability of this equilibrium, with respect to several physical parameters, in the framework of Birkhoffnormal form and Nekhoroshev stability theory. We use the same approach we have adopted for the 1:1 spin-orbit case with a peculiar attention to the role of Mercury's non-negligible eccentricity. The selected parameters are the polar moment of inertia, the Mercury's inclination and eccentricity and the precession rates of the perihelion and node. Our study produces a bound to both the latitudinal and longitudinal librations (of 0.1 rad) for a long but finite time (greatly exceeding the age of the Solar system). This is the so-called effective stability time. Our conclusion is that Mercury, placed inside the 3:2 spin-orbit resonance, occupies a very stable position in the space of these physical parameters, but not the most stable possible one.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4145-4152
Number of pages8
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomy Society
Volume452
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2015

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orbits
eccentricity
planets
planet
libration
moments of inertia
precession
solar system
inclination
inertia
mercury
parameter
rate

Keywords

  • Celestial mechanics
  • Methods: analytical
  • Planets and satellites: dynamical evolution and stability
  • Planets and satellites: individual: Mercury

Cite this

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abstract = "Mercury is the unique known planet that is situated in a 3:2 spin-orbit resonance nowadays. Observations and models converge to the same conclusion: the planet is presently deeply trapped in the resonance and situated at the Cassini state 1, or very close to it. We investigate the complete non-linear stability of this equilibrium, with respect to several physical parameters, in the framework of Birkhoffnormal form and Nekhoroshev stability theory. We use the same approach we have adopted for the 1:1 spin-orbit case with a peculiar attention to the role of Mercury's non-negligible eccentricity. The selected parameters are the polar moment of inertia, the Mercury's inclination and eccentricity and the precession rates of the perihelion and node. Our study produces a bound to both the latitudinal and longitudinal librations (of 0.1 rad) for a long but finite time (greatly exceeding the age of the Solar system). This is the so-called effective stability time. Our conclusion is that Mercury, placed inside the 3:2 spin-orbit resonance, occupies a very stable position in the space of these physical parameters, but not the most stable possible one.",
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Effective resonant stability of Mercury. / Sansottera, M.; Lhotka, C.; Lemaitre, Anne.

In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomy Society, Vol. 452, No. 4, 16.07.2015, p. 4145-4152.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Sansottera, M.

AU - Lhotka, C.

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AB - Mercury is the unique known planet that is situated in a 3:2 spin-orbit resonance nowadays. Observations and models converge to the same conclusion: the planet is presently deeply trapped in the resonance and situated at the Cassini state 1, or very close to it. We investigate the complete non-linear stability of this equilibrium, with respect to several physical parameters, in the framework of Birkhoffnormal form and Nekhoroshev stability theory. We use the same approach we have adopted for the 1:1 spin-orbit case with a peculiar attention to the role of Mercury's non-negligible eccentricity. The selected parameters are the polar moment of inertia, the Mercury's inclination and eccentricity and the precession rates of the perihelion and node. Our study produces a bound to both the latitudinal and longitudinal librations (of 0.1 rad) for a long but finite time (greatly exceeding the age of the Solar system). This is the so-called effective stability time. Our conclusion is that Mercury, placed inside the 3:2 spin-orbit resonance, occupies a very stable position in the space of these physical parameters, but not the most stable possible one.

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