Our Planet

If Earth Had Rings Like Saturn, What it Would Look Like

by Our Planet


What if Earth had rings like Saturn? What it would look like? Probably, our sky would look amazing. The rings would look quite different from the cities and latitudes across the world. It’s interesting to imagine how it would effect culture throughout time. It would have influenced religion, mythology, navigation, etc.

In the video created by Roy Prol above, rings views from the Earth’s surface were created according to the location’s latitude, northern or southern hemisphere, and the viewer’s orientation. The size of the rings was calculated respecting the Roche limit for the Earth.

The Roche limit, sometimes referred to as the Roche radius, is the distance within which a celestial body, held together only by its own gravity, will disintegrate due to a second celestial body’s tidal forces exceeding the first body’s gravitational self-attraction. Inside the Roche limit, orbiting material disperses and forms rings whereas outside the limit material tends to coalesce. The term is named after Édouard Roche, who is the French astronomer who first calculated this theoretical limit in 1848. Read more about Roche limit on wikipedia.

Song: Franz Schubert’s Ave Maria, sung by Barbara Bonney, the American soprano (born April 14, 1956).

The rings would be aligned with Earth’s equator, and they would appear across the sky from east to west. Near the equator, the rings would appear thin and perpendicular to the horizon. But far from the equator, they would appear much wider and close to the horizon.

The rings would appear very bright in the night sky, because they would reflect the Sun’s light, exactly as the Moon.