Planetary Ring

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A Ring System is a disc or ring orbiting an astronomical object that is composed of solid material such as dust and moonlets, and is a common component of satellite systems around giant planets.

  • A ring system around a planet is also known as a planetary ring system.
  • It is an astrographic feature.

Description (Specifications)[edit]

Planetary ring systems are made up of multiple small objects orbiting a planet in a disk-shaped belt. The majority of gas giants in Charted Space that are found beyond a system’s habitable zone have a planetary ring, and larger terrestrial worlds tend to have them as well.

The materials that make up planetary rings vary depending on how the rings were formed. On the cold side of a star system’s habitable zone, ice is often the main component, but they may also include metallic rocks, silicates, and organic or carbonaceous materials. If multiple types of material are present in a ring system, they will often separate into different zones based on their density.

Individual objects within the rings range from micrometers (dust) to tens of meters in diameter but tend to average less than a meter [1]. Each individual object follows its own orbital path, but they tend to aggregate over time into in a crowded and relatively thin disk around the world’s equator with an inner limit of about one planetary radius and an outer limit of about three planetary radii (the Roche Limit). [2] Objects from the ring that stray closer than this will fall into the world’s atmosphere, and objects that stray beyond the edge of the ring escape the orbit or coalesce into a satellite.

Image Repository[edit]

No information yet available.

Ring Formation[edit]

Ring systems are known to form in several ways:

  1. Destroyed Moon: Sometimes a ring system is the remnant of one or more satellites or captured objects that were pulled within the planet’s Roche Limit and destroyed by tidal forces.
  2. Impact Debris: Some ring systems are formed from debris after a collision involving the main world or one of its satellites. The materials found in the ring would be similar to the colliding bodies.
  3. Volcanic Ejecta: A ring system could also be the result of ejecta from volcanic activity, either on the world or one of its satellites. These could be powerful enough to put both rock and ice into orbit.
  4. Protoplanetary Disk: Some rings may form from material that never incorporated into the planet during the star system’s formation due to the presence of an early satellite. Such rings are most often composed of frozen gases or silicate dust, but sometimes contain organic suspended in ice or rock.

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

Planetary ring systems attract interest for a variety of reasons:

  1. Ice rings are a potential source of fuel for starships incapable of skimming a gas giant. However, prominently visible ice rings, such as those of Saturn in the Terra system, attract tourism and are often protected by local regulations aimed at conserving the spectacle.
  2. Rocky or metallic rings may represent a source of minerals which may be hard to find elsewhere in some star systems. Belters will find it is sometimes easier to exploit a free-flowing ring system than mine an asteroid.
  3. Rings formed as part of the protoplanetary disk may be of interest to scientists researching the formation of star systems and the origin of life in them. Laboratory Ships are sometimes used in scientific expeditions to study material from within the actual ring itself.

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Circumplanetary_disk. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. The text of Wikipedia is available under the Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Ring_system. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. The text of Wikipedia is available under the Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

This article was copied or excerpted from the following copyrighted sources and used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author.

  1. Marc Miller. Scouts (Game Designers Workshop, 1983), 39.
  2. Marc Miller. Scouts (Game Designers Workshop, 1983), 28.