Tidal excitation of autoresonant oscillations in stars with close-by planets

A. F. Lanza

Submitted on 29 June 2022


Close-by planets may excite various kinds of oscillations in their host stars through their time-varying tidal potential. Magnetostrophic oscillations with a frequency much smaller than the stellar rotation frequency have recently been proposed to account for the spin-orbit commensurability observed in several planet-hosting stars. In principle, they can be resonantly excited in an isolated slender magnetic flux tube by a Fourier component of the time-varying tidal potential with a very low frequency in the reference frame rotating with the host. However, due to the weakness of such high-order tidal components, a mechanism is required to lock the oscillations in phase with the forcing for long time intervals (103107 years) in order to allow the oscillation amplitude to grow. We propose that the locking mechanism is an autoresonance produced by the non-linear dependence of the oscillation frequency on its amplitude. We suggest that the angular momentum loss rate is remarkably reduced in hosts entering autoresonance that contributes to maintain those systems in that regime for a long time. We apply our model to a sample of ten systems showing spin-orbit commensurability and estimate the maximum drifts of the relevant tidal potential frequencies that allow them to enter the autoresonant regime. Such drifts are compared with the expected drifts owing to the tidal evolution of the planetary orbits and the stellar angular momentum loss in the magnetized winds finding that autoresonance is a viable mechanism in eight systems, at least in our idealized model. The duration of the autoresonant regime and the associated spin-orbit commensurability may be comparable with the main-sequence lifetimes of the host stars, indicating that gyrochronology may not be applicable to those hosts.


Comment: 21 pages, 7 figures, 5 tables, 2 appendixes; accepted by Astronomy & Astrophysics

Subjects: Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics; Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics