The variation of tidal dissipation in the convective envelope of low-mass stars along their evolution

Research paper by S. Mathis

Indexed on: 01 Jul '15Published on: 01 Jul '15Published in: arXiv - Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics


Since 1995, more than 1500 exoplanets have been discovered around a large diversity of host stars (from M- to A-type stars). Tidal dissipation in stellar convective envelopes is a key actor that shapes the orbital architecture of short-period systems. Our objective is to understand and evaluate how tidal dissipation in the convective envelope of low-mass stars (from M to F types) depends on their mass, evolutionary stage and rotation. Using a simplified two-layer assumption, we compute analytically the frequency-averaged tidal dissipation in their convective envelope. This dissipation is due to the conversion into heat of the kinetic energy of tidal non wave-like/equilibrium flow and inertial waves because of the viscous friction applied by turbulent convection. Using grids of stellar models allows us to study the variation of the dissipation as a function of stellar mass and age on the Pre-Main-Sequence and on the Main-Sequence for stars with masses spanning from $0.4$ to $1.4M_{\odot}$. As shown by observations, tidal dissipation in stars varies over several orders of magnitude as a function of stellar mass, age and rotation. During their Pre-Main-Sequence, all low-mass stars have an increase of the frequency-averaged tidal dissipation for a fixed angular velocity in their convective envelope until they reach a critical aspect and mass ratios. Next, the dissipation evolves on the Main Sequence to an asymptotic value that becomes maximum for $0.6M_{\odot}$ K-type stars and that decreases by several orders of magnitude with increasing stellar mass. Finally, the rotational evolution of low-mass stars strengthens the importance of tidal dissipation during the Pre-Main-Sequence for star-planet and multiple star systems.