AstroGrav iconAstroGrav Help /Sample Simulations /Abstract Systems /Roche LimitVersion 5.1

Roche Limit

This simulation illustrates the effects of the Roche limit, as detailed in the Wikipedia article at:

There is a central star, surrounded by 400 smaller objects that are initially in circular orbits. The collision type is set to 'Bounce' and the coefficient of restitution is set to zero, so that colliding objects will tend to stick together under their own mutual gravitational attraction.

You can run the simulation to see how the outer objects clump together into groups, while the inner objects remain separated because they lie within the Roche limit. Near the Roche limit, objects will sometimes temporarily clump together, before later breaking up into separate objects again. Since different computers run at different speeds, you may need to edit the evolution time step to get the simulation to run at an acceptable rate. The Roche limit here is about 6.3 times the radius of the central star.

You can try changing the mass of the central star before running the simulation to see what effect it has. You can also try changing the coefficient of restitution before running the simulation to see the effect of the 'bounciness' of the objects.

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