So, quite simply, is it possible for a planet in the habitable zone of its sun to possess rings like a gas giant? Naturally they would not be made of ice, but if this planet had a small moon which broke up, could the debris form a long-lasting ring around the equator?

  • $\begingroup$ This question is relevant worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/questions/27887/… $\endgroup$
    – Fhnuzoag
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 12:17
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I think you might have to better define what you mean by "long lasting". A few hundred million years seems to be a ballpark figure for how long a ring would likely last around the Earth. $\endgroup$
    – Fhnuzoag
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 12:18
  • $\begingroup$ If the indicated duplicate isn't enough, there's also this, this, this, and others. Some are potential duplicates, others have a high chance of answering your question despite only being relevant. Research is your friend. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 18:21

2 Answers 2


Rings are not exactly long lasting, not in terms of cosmological scales, at least.

According to the most accredited theory, the Moon was formed when a giant impact between the proto Earth and Theia projected a large amount of debris around the Earth itself, which then collapsed into what is today the Moon.

Those debris, while they were not yet collapsed, formed a ring.

True, the impact didsn't exactly made the Earth a habitable planet in the immediate aftermath. However, if the ring should have formed by an ice body fracturing under tidal forces during a close passage, there would be no obstacle to the presence of a ring and the presence of life on the surface.


It is theoretically possible for a planet in the habitable zone of its star to have rings, although it is unlikely. Gas giants like Saturn and Jupiter, which are much larger than terrestrial planets, have rings due to the presence of numerous small moons and the abundance of material in their atmospheres. Terrestrial planets, on the other hand, are generally much smaller and less massive, so it would be much more difficult for them to retain rings.

In theory, if a planet in the habitable zone had a small moon that broke up, the debris could form a ring around the planet's equator. However, the ring would likely not be long-lasting, as the debris would eventually either re-coalesce into a moon or fall into the planet's atmosphere and burn up. The likelihood of a ring being formed and persistently existing for a significant period of time would depend on various factors, such as the size and mass of the moon, the size and mass of the planet, and the speed and trajectory of the debris after the moon broke up.


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