If Earth had Rings

One of the most distinctive astronomical features of our solar system is the brilliant ring system of Saturn. Due to their position, scale and material composition, Saturn’s rings have a visibility and tone not present in the ring systems of other planets. I wondered what it would look like if earth had rings and what those rings would mean for us. I found a blog post from an artist who created a series of images showing what our sky would look like if Earth had a set of Saturn-like rings.

http://i.imgur.com/d3sjFA8.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/d3sjFA8.jpg

The rings have a profound effect on the sky, providing more illumination than a full moon and never changing in position. The ability to observe stars is impacted by the constant light pollution generated by the rings and humans and animals likely have altered evolutionary histories due to night-time illumination. The rings play a heavy role in the various religious pantheons of the world and are a source of great mystery and wonder for ancient people.

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3 thoughts on “If Earth had Rings

  1. I wonder if we had these rings from the start of humanities time here on Earth how much more of a focus on space and the Universe we would have. I feel that in day-to-day happenings on our planet most people forget the vast Universe out there. Having a constant reminder in the form of large rings, that are visible at all parts of the day, would serve as a constant reminder of all that’s out there and all that we don’t know.

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  2. The artist’s rendering of Earth with rings was extremely interesting. I wonder how life on Earth would have evolved differently with the excess of light. Even something like our human circadian rhythms, would we been nocturnal or have evolved to need less sleep? It is fascinating to ponder how rings could have changed life here on Earth.

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