Would rings around a planet (like saturn) be visible from the surface? All the time, only at night, or only occassionally?
You could see them from the surface, night and day, except for the fact that there is no surface (until down so far you couldn’t see anything and would be crushed). Would be best to land on one of the moons.
The rings around Jupiter are probably hard to see, but other than that the above is true.
Now let’s hope someone that knows what they are talking about comes along! :eek:
Saturn’s rings (and the rings of other planets) would not be visible from the surface owing to opaque layers of thick clouds, fog, and/or haze. However, the views from nearby satellites would be spectacular.
OK, we all know that there is no surface (at least above the clouds!) to Saturn and Jupiter… but let’s take the OP at face value and restate the original Q:
If there WERE a solid surface upon which one could stand, above the obscuring clouds, could you see the rings from the “surface” of Saturn and Jupiter?
My guess is (just a WAG, mind you):
For Saturn, yes…
For Jupiter, no…
Depending, of course, on time of day, and several other factors… (My guess… only at night. But I have absolutely NOTHING to base that on…)
I think at night they wouldn’t be, but it would probably be a nifty view as the sun goes down so the sun is set from the surface but the rings are still illuminated. That’d be neato!
(also assuming a solid surface and a ‘normal’ atmosphere)
the appearance of the rings (if visible at all, that is) would also vary depending on whether you’re at the equator (they would appear as a thin line directly overhead or one of the poles (they would appear as a gigantic arch).
At night, the part of the rings in the planet’s own shadow probably wouldn’t be visible, but there would be visible segments to the east and west, illuminated by sunlight from beyond the horizon, during the course of the night, one of these segments would shorten as the other lengthens.
During the day (remember, we’re pretending it has an earthlike atmosphere) the rings ought to be faintly visible, like the moon is visible on Earth during the day.
You can only see Jupiter’s rings if the Sun is shining through them. The ring praticles are very small, like dust on your windshield–you don’t notice it until you’re driving west in the evening and the whole windshield lights up. Now, I’m not really sure if you could see Jupiter’s rings with the naked eye, say from a Jovian moon–they might be too sparse.
If a terrestrial planet had rings made of big chunks of ice, you could see the rings both ways, with the Sun reflecting off them, or if you’re in the other hemisphere, with the Sun shining through them. With the Sun shining through, the gaps, the spaces in the rings that are filled with smaller particles, would light up even brighter than the rings themselves.