This article says that a planet so close to a red dwarf would be forced to “rotate in sync” with the star. Is this the same situation that causes the moon to rotate in sync with Earth?
Ken Bollers Hudson, Colo.Yes. First, the larger body (the red dwarf) pulls the smaller body (the planet) slightly out of round. Then, the bulging smaller body experiences internal friction that slows its rotation until it spins at the same rate that it orbits the larger body.—R. Cowen
From the Nature Index
Subscribers, enter your e-mail address for full access to the Science News archives and digital editions.