Saturday, November 21, 2009

What if Earth had rings like Saturn?

I don't want to interrupt the loveliness of this idea, but there are bits from the video and the comments that I want to note:

Someone commented that this might make places under the rings where it was permanently dark. But because the earth is tilted on its axis and the sun appears to move north and south through the sky seasonally, so would the shadow move. But it's likely some places (the equator, generally everywhere between the tropics) would get some level of shade from the rings. The layer is very thin; aside from under the rings at equinox, there would be plenty of bright sun. Would there be enough insolation change to affect climate? Probably. But given the scenario, I expect the earth would have evolved this way, it's not like it would be a change from how things are now.

The person who made the animation seems to have designed it for equinox. Seasonal variations aren't addressed at all.

The theoreticals (e.g. one commenter's note that this would affect satellites) are irrelevant to me: It's beautiful.


Monotreme said...

If we keep sending up enough space junk, we might just get to see this happen.

Kimberly said...

That was pretty cool, for sure!

Anonymous said...

After the earth impacted with our smaller sister planet, the moon *was* a ring. It also was big enough to sweep up all the debris around our planet.

So, we didn't get a ring. We got an exceptionally big, close, and useful moon instead... one that controls our tides, gave us the spin that causes our seasons... and essentially made life possible on our planet.

So, while rings are pretty, it's really just planetary cosplay.