Why the plane of the rings is vertical to the rotation axis of Saturn?

  1. Why the plane of the rings is vertical to the rotation axis of Saturn?
    I don't think this is a coincidence, because the orbits of the 8 planets in our Solar System is roughly in a plane, and some galaxies are like a plate, so does the accretion plane of the black hole. But as we know, satellites rotating around the earth can go in the orbit whose rotation axis is not coincide to that of the earth. So why couldn't the rings tilted at an angle to the rotation axis of Saturn?

    Therefore, I guess that: Is the phenomenon of Saturn's rings indicates that suppose we do nothing to the earth's satellites, they will all end up rotating earth in a plane vertical to the rotation axis of earth?



    P.S.:
    Now I can understand and imagine why the ring appears like a plant instead of some other shape, but this problem remains to be solved.

    I am a Chinese student, and I don't know if I had described my questions clearly. It would be great if you can also offer some suggestions about my English.

    And finally, thank you very much.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Chronos

    Chronos 9,975
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Planets are believed to form from accretion discs. The obvious explanation is the source material of rings originated in these accretion discs.
     
  4. That's true. Rings and accretions are sure to form. But what I wanna know is that why the plane is vertical to the rotation axis? Can it not be vertical?
     
  5. I think it would be hard. The rotation creates a bulge which will pull particles toward the equator.
     
  6. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    The disc is a disc! All the matter that becomes the planet and the rings is rotating about the same axis before it forms.
     
  7. I think your words can only explain why ring appears. Why can't it be like this in my attachment?
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Hurkyl

    Hurkyl 16,090
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    "The rotation creates a bulge which will pull particles toward the equator."
     
  9. Well, could you say my theory is wrong?
    And can you explain why?
     
  10. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    What theory?
     
  11. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    When a planet is rotating it's equator will be slightly larger than the pole - pole circumference is. Unless the rings are closely aligned with the rotation and hence the equator, the areas of the ring near the equator experience a greater pull from gravity than they do elsewhere. This creates instability in the rings and would most likely cause them to come apart very quickly.

    I would say that it is entirely POSSIBLE that rings can form like your example has them. A moon or collection of other orbiting bodies that were broken up somehow into tiny pieces could have been orbiting differently than they normally do. However the rings would be unstable and would not last long at all. It is simply much more likely that rings will form in the same axis as the rotation for the reasons mentioned in the above posts.
     
  12. Hurkyl

    Hurkyl 16,090
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Such as Saturn's Phoebe ring, if you count it as a ring.
     
  13. Thanks, I think your words helped me a lot. You are very possibly right.
     
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