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Planet with rings

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Gwydir, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. Gwydir

    Gwydir Dreamer

    Pretty self explanitory I guess but has anyone read/know of any books that have used a ringed planet? Just trying to think of some interesting ideas that aren't the typical multiple moon/sun idea I've seen alot of.
  2. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    I remember reading a couple of SF books which were set on ringed worlds, though the titles escape me at the moment.

    A ring would make orbiting difficult for a spacecraft (SF setting),.

    Otherwise, you'd likely have a lot of meteors, including a few large enough to do some damage. (typically, these would explode while still high in the atmosphere, but even so...)
  3. shwabadi

    shwabadi Minstrel

    Sounds interesting, though I'm not sure if planets with rings are often habitable. I'm not sure if it's something to do with temperature or the makeup of the atmosphere, but I'm pretty sure it's impossible to live on a planet like that.
    The views would be pretty good though
  4. chrispenycate

    chrispenycate Sage

    I don't see any particular reason why it would give problems with habitability; a bit more meteor activity, but apart from disrupting civilisation a bit (and at that not much more than earthquakes or volcanoes).

    Certainly the rings in the solar system seem to be round gas giant planets, but nothing rules them out as abodes for life (I would recommend Robert Forward's 'Saturn Ruhk' as a lifeform on a ringed planet; but lacking a solid surface might complicate plotting)

    Saturn's rings consist mainly of ice; I can't see why this wouldn't be stable in earth or Mars orbit. Perhaps just a trifle warm. Otherwise make them of silica or something.

    But the rings won't be that visually impressive from the planet's surface; they are very narrow relative to their diameter, so from anywhere near the equator all you see is a line across the sky, bright at night from the reflected sun, or maybe dark against the sun. Only from the poles, in summer, would any of the fine detail be visible.

    Artificial satellites? There will definitely be a clear region between the bottom of the rings and the top of the atmosphere where satellites can be safely orbited; all the ball of string ones, military surveillance, weather sats – and, although geostationary (which isn't 'geo' but I don't have an adequate word) is quite possibly in the rings, all the junk there is in stable orbit, the same as you want to get your satellite into, so if you can once get your telecommunications satellite in place (perhaps deliver it armour plated?) the relative motion between it and the other matter is very slight, nudges, not impacts, so it's quite safe, really.

    Or consider a civilisation heavily orbitally based, with habitats, power satellites and greenhouses littering the ecliptic. At some point the inhabitants of the orbital field become miffed at the planetside inhabitants; possibly from being expected to pay vast taxes for the impoverished below. Now, habitats are just spaceships without drives; they add these and go to live further out in the system, leaving a disk of tools, slag from the asteroid mined minerals, broken bits, frozen sanitary towels, broken down spacecraft… all the junk of a civilisation. Polishing itself from constant abrasion of the smaller particles, the dust. A ring of junk, like breakers' yards round a city.

    Finally (yes, I do stop sometimes), to put a ring round an already inhabited planet. Take one medium comet and fly it close to the star, coming close enough to soften a fair amount of its ice. Now pass it extremely close to the inhabited planet – not close enough to impact, that would annihilate most life and spoil the show, but still too close for it to escape back into its icy depths. Now it's going to go into orbit round the planet, very elliptic (a cometary orbit:)) but it's not monolithic enough to take the stresses. Tidal forces break it up, some bits escape, lots of bits hit the atmosphere and either burn up or crash to the surface (but piecemeal, so there are only a few hundred thousand deaths, not the catastrophe had it all struck at once) but a lot breaks up into ever smaller bits, grinding each other down, steadily achieving stability, a few dozen moonlets and a ring.

    Oh, sorry; this is a fantasy forum, isn't it and I'm a bit SF in my speculative fiction.
    JRFLynn and Noma Galway like this.
  5. Noma Galway

    Noma Galway Archmage

    The only thing I can think of (that chrispenycate hasn't already said) would be the tides. There wouldn't be the same sorts of tides. They would be much less noticeable, which may or may not matter in your story, just something to think about.
  6. Truepinkas

    Truepinkas Dreamer


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