Summary: ASTM001/MAS423 Solar System
Craig B. Agnor
Queen Mary, University of London
April 17, 2008
Real bodies in the solar system are not point masses.
The finite dimensions of a body mean that, in the presence of
another mass, there will be a gravitational gradient across the
body. This gives rise to a tidal bulge.
Measurements of the amplitude of the bulge provide
information about the internal strucure of the body.
Rotational distortion can give similar information.
The response of a satellite to the tidal bulge it raises on a
planet can lead to orbital evolution of the satellite.
The Tidal Bulge
The magnitude of the mean
force between a planet and a
F = G