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Author Topic: Jovian Planets and rings  (Read 2017 times)

MrPuffin

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Jovian Planets and rings
« on: November 16, 2017, 09:10:16 AM »
I'm taking a basic astronomy class right now and what interested me the most is that only the Jovian planets have rings and not the terrestrial planets. Why is this so? If celestial objects collided with one another over billions of years, then how come the terrestrial planets have no rings and just moons? This has puzzled me a little bit and I'm curious about what you think this is why. ???

atomic7732

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Re: Jovian Planets and rings
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2017, 10:48:08 AM »
I suspect it's because the terrestrial planets can't hold onto large or many moons (Earth's moon is an anomaly, Martian moons are probably more common). That means that as orbits erode over time (like we see with Phobos), they will make thin rings that decay over the course of a few million years. On the other hand, gas giants can have and capture larger objects which will make rings with more material, probably also further displaced from the planet, if the rings are formed via collision, allowing them to last longer.