Tidal evolution of planets around brown dwarfs

E. Bolmont, S. N. Raymond, J. Leconte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The tidal evolution of planets orbiting brown dwarfs (BDs) presents an interesting case study because BDs' terrestrial planet forming region is located extremely close-in. In fact, the habitable zones of BDs range from roughly 0.001 to 0.03 AU [1] and for the lowestmass BDs are located interior to the Roche limit. In contrast with stars, BDs spin up as they age. Thus, the corotation distance moves inward. We study the tidal evolution of planets around BDs using a standard tidal model and test the effect of numerous parameters such as the initial semi-major axis and eccentricity, the rotation period of the BD, the masses of both star and planet, and their tidal dissipation factor. We find that the most important parameter is the initial orbital distance with respect to the corotation distance. We find that all planets that form at or beyond the corotation distance and with initial eccentricities smaller than ∼ 0.1 and are repelled from the star. Some planets initially interior to corotation can survive if their inward tidal evolution is slower than the BD's spin evolution, although most initially close-in planets fall onto the BD. As the luminosity of BDs decreases dramatically on Gyr timescales [2], the habitable zone moves inward in time. A close-in planetary orbit can pass through the habitable zone simply due to the BD's cooling. For higher-mass BDs, planets can survive in the habitable zone for Gyr timescales.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)588
JournalEPSC-DPS Joint Meeting 2011, held 2-7 October 2011 in Nantes, France
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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