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Roche limit of a solid bodyTidal fission of both impacting and orbiting linear elastic solid bodies based on Kelvin's theory of earth tides is considered. It is shown that there can be more than one mutually exclusive modes of fracture - the particular mode in which a body fractures depending on its size and strength. The analysis gives a vivid picture of the propagation of the fracture with a decreasing distance from the planet. Expressions for the initiation and completion of fracture are obtained which are displayed graphically for a rigid body. The effect of elasticity on the breakup altitude is discussed. For orbiting solid bodies, the study gives the upper limit of the breakup altitude as 0.38R (where R is the radius of planet), which is much less than the value 1.44R used for such bodies in the past. The results presented include a previously given theory by Sekiguchi as a part. For the special case of a liquid body, comparison is made with Roche's calculation and the difference explained.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Aggarwal, H. R.
Oberbeck, V. R. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, Calif., United States)
Date Acquired
August 7, 2013
Publication Date
July 15, 1974
Publication Information
Publication: Astrophysical Journal
Volume: 191
Subject Category
Distribution Limits