First of all, I'd like to point out that I'm a worldbuilder and I like my worlds to be as physically possible as... possible.

I am in the process of building a world with a habitable moon orbiting around a gas giant in a similar fashion to Triton's orbits Neptune. I had originally intended it to be highly eccentric as well, but then I found out that Triton has a nearly perfect circular orbit. I looked into it a little and found something about tidal circularization.

What I'm not sure about is if my imaginary moon would undergo the process as well. Also, if it didn't, I'm not sure if it's even possible for life (and if, intelligent life,) to develop on a moon with such eccentric orbit.

Is it possible to explain what the parameters are that determine how quickly tidal circularization happen for systems similar to the Triton-Neptune system? How would the conditions need to be different for the system to remain in an elliptical orbit and avoid circularization?

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    $\begingroup$ Note that there is also a "worldbuilding" StackExchange, where this would (also?) be on tipic. $\endgroup$
    – James K
    Mar 22 '20 at 17:14
  • $\begingroup$ I've modified the wording of your question to make it a better fit for Astronomy SE. I think this question can be answered here. If you are unfamiliar with World Building SE mentioned in the previous comment then have a look! However please don't post the same question in multiple SE sites. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Mar 23 '20 at 0:42

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