(also Roche's limit)
The distance within which the gravitational field of a large body is strong enough to prevent any smaller body from being held together by gravity.
More example sentences
- Amalthea is not a rigid body, being inside the Roche limit; but its gravity is more than adequate to hold it together, being 6 times stronger than the forces pulling it apart.
- At a certain distance near a planet, known as the Roche limit, an object can be literally pulled apart by gravity.
- Phobos has a number of interesting surface features, including grooves that could be created by the gravity gradient of Mars - Phobos is within Mars's Roche limit - trying to tear the moon apart.
late 19th century: named after Edouard Albert Roche (1820–83), French mathematician.
More definitions of Roche limitDefinition of Roche limit in:
- The US English dictionary