Saturday Jan 18th, 2020

Why does the Earth have no ring?

As we noted, our beautiful home called Planet Earth does not have a ring that orbits around us, but why ?, being that other planets do have Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, although the rings around Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune are much smaller, darker and dimmer than Saturn's rings.

It was previously believed that only gaseous planets had one but scientists discovered that it is not so.

The funny thing is that if you had them once, billions of years ago, when a planet the size of Mars crashed into the Earth and threw a huge ring of rubble.

These rings that surround certain planets are a combination of ice, rocks and dust particles and can be formed in various ways.

It can be as a result of a collision that causes waste to disperse, when a planetary satellite gets too close to the planet and is disintegrated, or simply of remains that remain when the planet is formed.

In the case of the Earth, the remains that surrounded our planet had another purpose. They were what it is now we call moon.

But not all rings become moons. There is a law in astronomy that dictates that there is a minimum distance in which a moon or other large object can be near a planet without disintegrating. This distance is 2 and a half times the radius of the planet if the object that is orbiting and the planet have the same density.

Being the Moon outside the scope of this limit with respect to the Earth, it remains intact.

Now that we know why we don't have rings, we have to ask ourselves another question:

What would life on Earth be like if it had rings?

To begin with, the landscape would be quite fascinating, because the rings would be visible at all times, both day and night and we would very often see the shadow of our own planet in the rings.

However, there are more disadvantages than advantages.

The amount of light reflected by the rings after sunset would be problematic for nocturnal species. Many of them have a view that has evolved specifically to adapt to the darkness. Therefore, a significant increase in the amount of night light would greatly alter them (this already happens in cities with some species due to light pollution).

Not only would some species have problems, the shadow of the rings on the planet's surface would cause changes in our climate system, including changes such as the amount of light that reaches the surface (something particularly bad for plants and photosynthesis).

During the winter, the shadow of the rings would make the temperature somewhat lower, and perhaps somewhat higher during the summers, although how much would depend on the thickness of the rings, as well as their composition (Saturn's rings are so bright because they are composed largely of ice, and reflect much more light than rocks).

Finally, our geosynchronous satellites could be affected (assuming the rings were located on the equator), and exploring space could be a problem depending on which launch route we chose (a rock traveling at high speeds can destroy any equipment, it is more , micro meteorites are a very real concern for astronauts of the International Space Station).

We better continue as we are and appreciate the life we ​​have.


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