the lowest possible altitude at which a natural satellite can form and orbit, withstanding the fragmenting force of the gravitational pull of a planet or other primary celestial body
after E. Roche (1820-83), Fr astronomer
See Roche limit in American Heritage Dictionary 4
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.
Origin: After Edouard Albert Roche (1820-1883), French mathematician