Questions tagged [planetary-ring]

Questions about rings of debris that encircle the equatorial regions of some planets.

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Can planetary rings distort the shape of a planet?

I was watching this Kurzgesagt video on what would happen if the moon crashed into the Earth, and it mentioned that at the very end the tidal forces would tear the moon apart and create planetary ...
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If Theia did collide with Earth, would it have produced rings? If so, would we expect to still see at least some remnants today?

Before I get into the actual question, I'll just specify two things: Few billion years ago, a planet as big as Mars named Theia, is hypothesized to have crashed into the Earth, leading to the ...
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6 votes
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Can Jupiter's rings be seen with the naked eye by an astronaut nearby? How difficult would it be?

Maybe a basic question, apologies. I understand that there would be different answers depending on how far is "nearby", depending on how inclined our orbit is, and what is our alignment with ...
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Why does our Moon not have rings?

While our Moon is full of craters, one could consider that these events might have been enough to release amounts of fragmented mass into the Moon's orbit sufficient to establish some sort of ring. ...
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Can planetary rings form as a result of solidifed lava thrown up by volcanoes on the surface of small rocky moons/planets?

I have heard that a moon in our solar system orbiting Saturn possesses geographical features that essentially spit out water and moisture from 'volcanoes' on its surface. The volume of water outputted ...
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Is it possible for planetary rings to be perpendicular (or near perpendicular) to the planet's orbit around the host star?

Is it possible for planetary rings to be perpendicular (or near perpendicular) to the planet's orbit around the host star?
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6 votes
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Can moons exist inside a planet's roche limit?

Saturn's rings are inside its own Roche Limit - the limit beyond which bodies start disintegrating due to the tidal forces of the parent body. But as every rock in the ring can be regarded as a ...
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2 votes
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How does Saturn's ring rain fit with the earlier "big empty" results?

In 2017, the results from Cassini's flight through the region between Saturn and the inner edge of the rings were described as the "Big Empty". Nevertheless in 2018, the region was described ...
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How quickly can a ring system be made?

I've seen elsewhere that if a terrestrial planet had a ring system, it would be very difficult (if not impossible) for life to evolve due to the shadow the rings would cast on the temperate zone in ...
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How many moons do we know are shepherds?

Shepherd moons are natural satellites near the edge of a planetary ring that have an influence on the shape and size of the ring due to their gravity. So it is possible for a satellite to be near the ...
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Can expansion of space cause the motion of galaxies, does expansion of space do effect motion of our sun around center and earth around Sun?

I'm just wondering that expansion is anyway related to in effecting motion of a star under the galaxies ? Planets are currently revolving around sun in helix motion, if galaxies has motion as well ...
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Is this render of a ringed planet's shadow accurate?

I've noticed that when it's the equinox on this planet I'm making, the sun seems to cast a double shadow on the planet. How come the planet's ring seems to make two shadows with a space in between, ...
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Could a star have a Saturn-like ring?

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 ...
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What is the difference between a moon and a random chunk in the rings

Jupiter has 79 (known) moons, Saturn 82, Uranus 27 and Neptune 14 (numbers come from Wikipedia). These planets also all have rings. The rings are made up of chunks of rock and ice. There also are ...
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How do a planet's moons and a planet's rings interact?

I am making a video game which features a planet and its moon. And I thought I would add rings too. But that got me wondering... how do a planet's moon and a planet's ring influence each other? Does ...
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What kind of effects can maintain Uranus' rings' eccentricities?

The recent paper Thermal Emission from the Uranian Ring System has been in the news recently. The introduction mentions: The ε ring, the brightest and most massive of the narrow rings, was shown to ...
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What is the organic material in Saturn's rings?

The phys.org articleSurprising chemical complexity of Saturn's rings changing planet's upper atmosphere about the chemical complexity of Saturn's rings, quotes a member of the INMS (Thomas Cravens) as ...
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Why are saturn rings so thin?

I wonder why saturn rings are so thin ? Rings A, B and C are approximately just 10 meters thick which is extremely thin compared to the size of Saturn. What are the explanations for that ? Thanks a ...
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9 votes
1 answer
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Which Saturn satellite passes closest to Saturn's rings and at what distance?

I was using Stellarium to watch Saturn from its moon Pan and I saw the rings were very close to this moon. Now Saturn's rings extend for a large distance so several moons see them from close. I was ...
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Hypothetically, would we be able to see the moon from Saturn's North Pole?

Hypothetically speaking, if Saturn had a solid surface that we could stand on, would we be able to see our Moon from the North Pole of Saturn? Would the rings of Saturn obstruct the view?
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1 vote
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What is a debris field called before it becomes a planetary ring?

As a body of a suitable size and mass moves within the Roche limit of a planet, it will disintegrate. This will form a debris field that will eventually form a planetary ring. Is there a name given to ...
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If Earth had rings, how long would it take for the rings to loose orbit? [closed]

If Earth had rings, how long would it take for the rings to loose orbit? One of the answers in this question https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/281828/if-earth-had-rings said we did at one ...
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Can CME destroy planetary rings?

Is Corona Mass Ejection able to reach the outer planets such as Jupiter and Saturn? If so can it blows away the icy rings or the distance is simply beyond the reach of maybe like Earth it is protected ...
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Can an asteroid have rings?

I know an asteroid can have moons, but how about rings? Does it also get affected by the Roche limit? The asteroid Florence has two moons.
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Why Only Saturn Has Visible Rings

It may be surprising to know that all four giants in our solar system have rings orbiting around them. Yet only Saturn has a system of rings visible to the naked eye. Why is that? What's so ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Are the radial spokes in Saturn's rings reliably visible via ground-based telescopes

In the mid 1970's, Franklin and O'Meara saw persistent "radial spoke-like features" in the rings of Saturn, that should not have existed due to the differential rotation of the rings. A publication ...
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5 votes
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What stabilizes rings or accretion disks?

We think, more or less, that our Moon was formed from an accretion disk caused by a Mars-sized impactor. Cool. Tidal forces can break apart a moon, causing rings. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust: the ...
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How are J1407b's rings possible?

If planetary rings are maintained by staying within the Roche limit, how is it that J1407b's rings extend so far? Surely the gravity and tidal forces should be low enough to allow a moon to form.
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Can Earth have a ring?

Why doesn't the earth have a ring? If solid material such as dust and moonlets, and common components of satellite systems are brought nearer to the Earth, then what will happen? Will it take the ...
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9 votes
1 answer
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Which star did Uranus occult in 1977 when the planet's rings were discovered?

In 1977, Uranus occulted a star, and the starlight flickered 40 minutes before and after the actual occultation, revealing Uranus' rings.This is common knowledge to astronomers, but what I can't find ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Can a planet have more that one ring? [duplicate]

Here is a good example picture of what I mean: If not, why is this so? I've heard often that in the creation of a planet more the rings have formed, they are most likely just all over the place ...
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Is there, in fact, any close-up photography of Saturn's rings, showing individual pebbles/rocks?

After reading this excellent but difficult answer, https://astronomy.stackexchange.com/a/18407/13071 I've been thinking how difficult it is to get a sense of the distance between and the size of ...
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Size of Saturn's ring material

How big are the chunks of rock ice that make up Saturn's rings? Are there many objects larger than pebble size?
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7 votes
2 answers
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Why are some universal entities round and others are flat?

I've been wondering for a while now why some objects in the universe (such as stars, planets, etc.) are round, while others are flat (galaxies, planetary rings and protoplanetary disks). I know these ...
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Difference between "planetary ring" and "circumstellar disk"?

Related: Do/Can Ringed Stars Exist? Is there any particular difference, in behavior or properties, between a planetary ring system and a circumstellar disk? Or is the only real difference a matter of ...
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Do/Can Ringed Stars Exist?

The other night, while playing Elite: Dangerous, I came across a rather strange celestial body - one I never imagined possible. It was a Brown Dwarf star with a very large ring. Is something like ...
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Can there be elliptical rings around a planet?

The rings of Saturn and Jupiter are circular. Orbits can be elliptical, so can rings be elliptical?
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1 answer
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Do planetary rings always follow rotational axis?

In solar system,most ring systems seem almost lies exactly on the equator of planet, is it possible that the plane of a ring system is not lie on the equator of the planet?
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Could a cross-ringed planet exist?

My title doesn't do my question justice in explaining, but the kind of satellite system I'm thinking of is two rings on two separate axis, much like (if you've seen it) the film 'Treasure Planet' ...
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Mass limit of planetary ring

Is there a limit to how massive a planet's ring can be? If there is, how does it depend on the mass of the planet, presence/absence of moons, distance to the star or other parameters?
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8 votes
2 answers
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How unusual is the solar system?

In Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, the main characters are looking for the long-lost Earth. There are two major features of the solar system that seem to make it unusual among the millions of ...
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Can a star have a ring system?

I often hear about planetary ring systems, and even some moons might have them, but how about stars? Can a star also have rings?
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9 votes
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Why does Saturn have both moons and rings?

From my understanding, a ring can form around a planet when a moon gets too close to its Roche limit, and gets ripped appart by the planet's gravity pull. That makes sense to me, but I don't ...
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Rings around a smaller, close-in planet?

Is it possible for a small, close-to-star planet to have a stable ring system--icy or otherwise? A smaller planet means the rings would have to be closer to the planet, which means the radial shear (...
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2 answers
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Why Earth does not have rings?

Why does the Earth not have rings like Saturn or Uranus?
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13 votes
3 answers
283 views

Do magnetic fields affect planetary rings?

Planetary rings seem to generally form on the ecliptic plane because of the rotation of the planet, but I was wondering what kind of effect the magnetic field of the planet might have on the ring ...
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14 votes
2 answers
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How thick can planetary rings be?

This arose from a comment on Worldbuilding. We have data from four planets in the Solar System with rings, which doesn't make for a very good sample size. Observations of exoplanets could change that,...
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3 votes
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Do the planetary ring lasts? [duplicate]

Almost all gas giants in our solar system are observed to have a planetary ring comprises of ice, dust and rocks. My question is do these rings obediently sticks around their foster parent until our ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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Wouldn't the rings of Saturn experience tidal effect?

The "Lord of the Rings" has more than 60 moons, some of which are larger than Mercury. My question is, wouldn't the ring, which is mostly comprised of rocks, experience tidal effect whenever a moon is ...
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9 votes
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What's special about Saturn that it has distinctive rings?

This may overlap with other questions, but I'm asking what is unique about Saturn in location, properties, etc that is has far more pronounced rings? It's between Jupiter and Uranus and Neptune in ...
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