(3 votes from 1 institution)
A considerable fraction of multi-planet systems discovered by the observational surveys of extrasolar planets reside in mild proximity to first-order mean motion resonances. However, the relative remoteness of such systems from nominal resonant period ratios (e.g. 2:1, 3:2, 4:3) has been interpreted as evidence for lack of resonant interactions. Here we show that a slow divergence away from exact commensurability is a natural outcome of dissipative evolution and demonstrate that libration of critical angles can be maintained tens of percent away from nominal resonance. We construct an analytical theory for the long-term dynamical evolution of dissipated resonant planetary pairs and confirm our calculations numerically. Collectively, our results suggest that a significant fraction of the near-commensurate extrasolar planets are in fact resonant and have undergone significant dissipative evolution.