I am aware of the possible consequences having a planetary ring may cause on a planet, but since I want my nights to be dark and not giant-reflective-curve-in-the-sky bright I've decided to make the rings a couple of shades below black.

I would like to know what differences would be between this ring of mine and an standard light gray one. Would it cause a much bigger impact in weather and temperature?

Notice that we are talking a reasonably thin ring here, being under its shadow could resemble being outside a really cludy day, but not pitch black in the slightlest.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Well, my instinct would tell me to research how moonlight affects weather and temperature, as ringshine should be similar to moonshine by some scalar. Speaking of which, what have you already researched about this topic? $\endgroup$
    – user44399
    Aug 5, 2018 at 1:14
  • $\begingroup$ What they are supposed to be made of? Also, consequences of what kind? There may be even religious consequences! For weather, what would be climate of your planet without such rings? Hard to tell how would they change it without knowing what "it" is. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Aug 5, 2018 at 9:07

1 Answer 1


It sounds like you are describing rings composed of material with a low albedo. That is, material that doesn't reflect very much light. In this case, your rings would not affect the planet any differently that regular rings made of ice dust or moon-lets. In fact, that second material may be a bigger concern. Planetary rings are not flat. They could contain objects that are big enough to have significant gravitational mass. Not significant enough to cause major issues, but can actually help define the edge of the rings for a crisp line.

As long as your rings are not composed of dense material or densely populated by space rocks (and it doesn't sound like your rings would be if they are basically like a really cloudy day), you should be fine. If that slight mass of the objects that make up your rings is evenly distributed around the planet, you should not have to worry about tidal forces or anything like that.

In fact, unless your planet has a moon (or two or three or more), the tides on your planet will only be caused by the star the planet orbits. That means your planet's tides will be more or less proportionate to how far away the star is and how big it is.

The wikipedia page for ring systems briefly mentions some math that can help determine what kind of rings your planet can support, based on mass and volume and orbital height. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_system Probably not necessary unless you are going for The Martian level detail and scientific accuracy.


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