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Emily LakdawallaDecember 3, 2009

If Earth had rings

I am the very last space blogger in the universe to post about this video, but that doesn't make it any less cool. It's a neat "what if" presentation about what our skies would look like if Earth had rings like Saturn. There's various reasons why this wouldn't actually work (biggest among them being the gravitational influence of our Moon), but if you can suspend your disbelief for the three minutes it takes to watch this presentation, you'll enjoy it a lot.

One thing the animator, Roy Prol, did not explore, and I wish he had, is what it would look like in the winter hemisphere where the Sun is occulted for some part of every day by the rings. I don't think it would be like a cloudy day, because when the thickest part of the rings occludes the Sun, no sunlight at all would be reaching our atmosphere for miles around you, so there'd be no scattered light coming in. It'd be much darker than during a solar eclipse by the Moon. The stars would be visible except where the rings occulted them, where there would just be great black arcs of nothing across the sky.

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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Emily Lakdwalla
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