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

In summary, the reason why the plane of Saturn's rings is vertical to its rotation axis is likely due to the gravitational pull from the equator of the planet, creating instability in any rings that are not aligned with the rotation. While it is possible for rings to form at an angle, they would not be stable and would likely not last long. It is more likely for rings to form in line with the rotation axis.
  • #1
Chris2MIT
5
0
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.
 
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  • #2
Planets are believed to form from accretion discs. The obvious explanation is the source material of rings originated in these accretion discs.
 
  • #3
Chronos said:
Planets are believed to form from accretion discs. The obvious explanation is the source material of rings originated in these accretion discs.

That's true. Rings and accretions are sure to form. But what I want to know is that why the plane is vertical to the rotation axis? Can it not be vertical?
 
  • #4
Chris2MIT said:
That's true. Rings and accretions are sure to form. But what I want to know is that why the plane is vertical to the rotation axis? Can it not be vertical?

I think it would be hard. The rotation creates a bulge which will pull particles toward the equator.
 
  • #5
Chris2MIT said:
That's true. Rings and accretions are sure to form. But what I want to know is that why the plane is vertical to the rotation axis? Can it not be vertical?
The disc is a disc! All the matter that becomes the planet and the rings is rotating about the same axis before it forms.
 
  • #6
twofish-quant said:
I think it would be hard. The rotation creates a bulge which will pull particles toward the equator.
I think your words can only explain why ring appears. Why can't it be like this in my attachment?
 

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  • #7
Chris2MIT said:
I think your words can only explain why ring appears. Why can't it be like this in my attachment?
"The rotation creates a bulge which will pull particles toward the equator."
 
  • #8
Hurkyl said:
"The rotation creates a bulge which will pull particles toward the equator."
Well, could you say my theory is wrong?
And can you explain why?
 
  • #9
What theory?
 
  • #10
Chris2MIT said:
Well, could you say my theory is wrong?
And can you explain why?

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 think your words can only explain why ring appears. Why can't it be like this in my attachment?

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.
 
  • #11
Drakkith said:
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.
Such as Saturn's Phoebe ring, if you count it as a ring.
 
  • #12
Drakkith said:
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.
Thanks, I think your words helped me a lot. You are very possibly right.
 

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

1. Why is the plane of Saturn's rings vertical to its rotation axis?

The plane of Saturn's rings is vertical to its rotation axis because of the planet's tilt. Saturn has a tilt of about 27 degrees, which creates an angle between its rotation axis and the plane of its orbit around the sun. As a result, the rings, which are made up of countless small particles, also align themselves at this angle, creating the appearance of a vertical plane.

2. Are the rings of Saturn always vertical to its rotation axis?

Yes, the rings of Saturn are always vertical to its rotation axis. This is because the tilt of Saturn's axis remains constant, so the angle between its rotation axis and the plane of its rings stays the same. However, the orientation of the rings may appear to change from our perspective on Earth as Saturn orbits the sun and we see it from different angles.

3. Do all planets with rings have a vertical plane like Saturn?

No, not all planets with rings have a vertical plane like Saturn. Some planets, such as Uranus, have rings that are tilted more than 90 degrees to their rotation axis, creating a horizontal plane. Others, like Jupiter, have rings that are more inclined, creating a tilted plane.

4. How do the rings of Saturn stay in their vertical position?

The rings of Saturn stay in their vertical position due to the planet's strong gravitational pull. This force keeps the particles in the rings orbiting around Saturn in a flat plane, rather than drifting away or forming a different shape. Saturn's moons also play a role in maintaining the rings' position, as their gravitational interactions help to keep the particles in line.

5. Are there any theories about why the rings of Saturn formed in a vertical plane?

There are several theories about why the rings of Saturn formed in a vertical plane. One theory suggests that the rings were formed from the debris of a moon that broke apart due to Saturn's strong gravitational forces. Another theory proposes that the rings were formed from material that was captured by Saturn's gravity and then pulled into a flat plane by its rotation. However, the exact reason for the rings' vertical orientation is still unknown and is an ongoing topic of research for scientists.

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