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Keywords:

  • celestial mechanics;
  • planets and satellites: dynamical evolution and stability

ABSTRACT

Tidal damping of one of the orbits in a planetary system can lead to aligned major axes (the so-called ‘fixed-point’ condition), but currently aligned major axes do not necessarily imply such a history. An example is the nominal orbital solution for the 61 Virginis system where two orbits librate about alignment, but evaluation of the eigenmodes of the secular theory shows it could not be the result of tidal damping but rather of initial conditions. The amplitudes of the eigenmodes suggest that, at most, this system may have undergone some modest degree of tidal damping.