What if Earth Had Rings Like Saturn?

Istanbul at 41 degrees north.
Istanbul at 41 degrees north.
If Earth had rings like Saturn our sunsets would be an incredible spectacle. It isn't farfetched as the Earth did have rings a very long time ago, the result of a cataclysmic planetary crash that preceded the formation of the moon.

The first thing to note is that many examples you might find on the web don’t take into account the shadows that the rings would cast on our planet, which would result in them acting as a shade barrier over a good chunk of the earth.

We have created these images with the rings exactly at our equator, meaning that they would be directly above us. Were you on the North or South Poles, however, they would not even be visible.

Our designer has gone to great lengths to pick the angle of the rings at the latitude of the city of Los Angeles to create an accurate representation of the fictional rings of Earth. So suspend your belief for a minute.

Los Angeles at night

Los Angeles at 34 Degrees north sees the rings high in the sky. In this image the shadow of earth reflects on the rings at night.

Los Angeles at 34°N sees the rings high in the sky. In this image the shadow of earth reflects on the rings at night.

Los Angeles by day

Los Angeles at 34 Degrees north sees the rings high in the sky. In this image the shadow of earth reflects on the rings at day.
Image by Kevin Gill on Flickr

Angelenos would get a spectacular view of the rings when looking south.

New York by day

New York's sees the rings high above the horizon.

New York sees the rings closer to the horizon.

Rio de Janeiro at dusk

Rio's rings at 23 degrees North would look like a rainbow.

View from the Tropic of Capricorn: Rio’s rings at 23°N would touch the horizon like a rainbow.

Quito by day

Quito is only a few miles from the Equator, so it's rings are at 90 degrees.

Quito is only a few miles from the Equator, so its rings are at 90° and only visible as a thin line.

Singapore by night

Singapore at 1 degree north sees the rings right over head. Being only 100 km across the rings are very thin.

Singapore at 1°N sees the rings right over head. They appear slightly wider than in Quito.

Sydney at dusk

The rings from Sydney from 34 Degrees South

The rings as seen in Sydney from 34°S.

Istanbul by night

Istanbul at 41 degrees north.

Istanbul at 41°N.

Guatemala

Guatemala nearer to the equator sees the rings very high in the sky.

Guatemala, nearer to the equator, sees the rings very high in the sky. Fuego volcano on the right.

Iceland

Iceland is near the arctic circle (65 Degrees North) so the rings are far, far south. You would only see them on the horizon.

Iceland is near the arctic circle (65°N) so the rings are far, far south. You would only see them on the horizon.

New Zealand

New Zealand's rings would be low on the horizon. Southern New Zealand sits between 41-46 degrees south. The country would be in the shadow of the sun much of the year.

With Southern New Zealand sitting between 41°-46°S the rings would be low on the horizon and the country would be in the shadow of the rings during much of its winter.

Shadows over Australia

The rings would cast incredible shadows on the planet.

The rings would cast incredible shadows on the planet as illustrated here over Australia.

This hypothetical view has of course been inspired by other posts on the interwebs. So we’d recommend to check out these more in-depth resources about the subject:

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