- University of Oxford
Stars are often found in close binary systems, and gaseous giant planets in the solar system are surrounded by moons. Tides are raised in the bodies in these systems, and their dissipation plays a major role in shaping the orbits. The dissipation rate is very well constrained by observations. For the last 55 years, theory has failed to account for the amount of dissipation in bodies in which there is a substantial convective envelope, as in giant planets and solar type stars. In this talk, we review this theory and show that it is actually not valid when the tides are fast (i.e when the tidal period is short compared to the convective turnover timescale). We propose a new formalism that applies in this regime. Assuming that energy is always transferred from the tides to the convective flow, this formalism yields values for the tidal dissipation factor of Jupiter and Saturn, for the circularization periods of solar-type binaries and for that of extrasolar planets in good overall agreement with observations.