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brunger

Why does saturn have rings?

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brunger

Why does all the debris on saturns orbit form a ring?? If the curvature of space is equal all around the planet then why do they not just form an equal cloud around saturn?

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Abramelin

Why does all the debris on saturns orbit form a ring?? If the curvature of space is equal all around the planet then why do they not just form an equal cloud around saturn?

Jee, that was long ago.. It's something to do with rotational speed, gravity, and angular velocity.

Well, imagine you are a planet, and you are holding a bucket (moon, debris) in your hand.

Now start rotating as fast as you can.

In what position will the bucket (assuming you will not let loose = gravitational pull by the planet) eventually end up while you keep rotating faster?

In the horizontal plane, perpendicular to the axis of rotation (= vertical, or you in the upright postion).

That's your ring.

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ninjadude

In addition to the above, I think it is also not as even as it appears from our far away perspective. In reality there are considerable different densities and variations in thickness in the ring plane. The ring "cloud" is huge and yet it is so small against Saturn's even larger size.

And the source of the many many different rings seems to be different. Some are related to some of Saturn's current moons. Others may be remnants of bodies (moons, asteroids, comets) that have been reduced to nothing but bits over eons. Many of the rings are "Herded" by Shepard moons which may have also been part of their creation - some of those rings are wispy ropes. Saturn's system is quite complex and astonishing.

Edited by ninjadude

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Stellar

Well, I havent actually researched the subject, and perhaps theres an alternate reason why Saturn ended up with a ring as opposed to my explanation, but my explanation does physically make sense. The rings on Saturn are made up of all sorts of rocks and debris. If the rings were a cloud of these objects, in order for the objects not to collide and break apart the cloud, they would have to each orbit a common axis of the planet, ie: the planes of rotation would each be parallel. The gravitational attraction, however, acts radially on the rocks, which means that aside from those rocks orbiting around the center of Saturn, the rocks have a component of their gravitational force which isnt balanced out by the centripetal force of their orbits, and hence the rock is pulled into the planet.

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Torgo

As the particles orbit the planet, they collide with each other. This decreases their kinetic energy while preserving momentum. Over time, the up and down motions of individual particles relative to their average angular momentum cancel each other out, as do in and out motions. Eventually, just the overall spin of the cloud is preserved, in a narrow band.

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brunger

Jee, that was long ago.. It's something to do with rotational speed, gravity, and angular velocity.

Well, imagine you are a planet, and you are holding a bucket (moon, debris) in your hand.

Now start rotating as fast as you can.

In what position will the bucket (assuming you will not let loose = gravitational pull by the planet) eventually end up while you keep rotating faster?

In the horizontal plane, perpendicular to the axis of rotation (= vertical, or you in the upright postion).

That's your ring.

But the planet is not holding the debris in one place like I hold the bucket.. I can see that it is obvious that the rings will form around the planet according to its spin, but I am interested in finding out why?? If gravity is not actually a force and its only the mass that is creating the dip in space-time then how does the spin of the mass affect the space-time warpage to the point that all orbiting object will end up in the same place...

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