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Saturn's rings will never clump together, because they are within the Roche limit. Which makes me wonder if a star could have rings that are kept from clumping together due to tidal forces. Have any ring systems been observed within the Roche limit of other stars?


The answers to this question consider rings in a more general sense. I would like to know specifically about rings around a star that exist due to the same mechanism as Saturn's rings.

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  • $\begingroup$ By "same mechanism" do you mean a ring of any kind of material of any source, as long as it is inside the star's Roche limit, or do you mean a ring that was formed from material in the same way that Saturn's ring was formed? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jan 30 at 11:22
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    $\begingroup$ A ring within the Roche limit. It doesn't have to be made up of the same material $\endgroup$ – usernumber Jan 30 at 13:36
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps for small cool stars and brown dwarfs. I imagine for sun-like stars dust and small bodies inside the Roche limit would be vaporized, and wind and radiation pressure would drive them away. $\endgroup$ – antlersoft Jan 30 at 16:45
  • $\begingroup$ I don't see how tidal forces come into play, as that only applies to a single object of nonhomgeneous density. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Jan 30 at 19:43
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    $\begingroup$ I would imagine that the various combinations of radiation pressure, stellar wind pressure, Poynting-Robertson drag and the Yarkovsky effect would tend to deplete a ring system fairly rapidly. $\endgroup$ – antispinwards Jan 30 at 22:47

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