# Roche limit

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## Roche limit

(rōsh)
n.
The smallest distance at which a natural satellite can orbit a celestial body without being torn apart by the larger body's gravitational force. The distance depends on the densities of the two bodies and the orbit of the satellite.

[After Edouard Albert Roche (1820-1883), French mathematician.]

## Roche limit

(rɒʃ)
n
(Astronomy) astronomy the distance from the centre of a body, such as a planet, at which the tidal forces are stronger than the mutual gravitational attraction between two adjacent orbiting objects
[C19: named after E. A. Roche (1820–83), French mathematician]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
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References in periodicals archive ?
He is best known for the science fiction trilogy Roche Limit (2015-2016).
The ring's orbit has a radius of about 2,287 km (1,421 miles)--that's too close to Haumea, well inside a gravitational threshold called the Roche limit, to be able to collect into a single body.
This is due to the fact that the rings spread over time and, when they reach a certain distance from the planet (known as the Roche limit or Roche radius), their ends agglomerate and form small bodies that break off and move away.
Very close to a star, at a boundary called the Roche limit, planets are dismembered by the star's gravity.
At this distance the object has reached its expected Roche limit, where tides induced by the star should literally pull it apart.
And although we would be a little beyond Jupiter's Roche limit for pulling Earth apart completely, our tides would be out of this world!
Moreover, the comet will be inside the Sun's Roche limit, where the Sun's tidal effect will overpower the nucleus's weak self-gravity.
Dynamicists now realize that the rings lie within what's termed the Roche limit, inside of which tidal stresses from Saturn would tear apart any large solid object.
That allowed the group to estimate how densely the companion must be packed in order to keep it from overflowing its Roche limit and being tidally torn apart by the pulsar's gravity.
As it continued to migrate inward, the doomed moon crossed the threshold (known as the Roche limit) inside of which Saturn's tidal forces began pulling it apart.
The Roche limit is where the tidal force pulling a body apart becomes greater than the gravitational force holding it together.
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