In my earth-like world, there is one thing that separate it from earth; this world has a single rocky ring, around 10.6 meters thick, 5(ish) miles wide and starts at the outer limits of the atmosphere. A less important feature that might be used in your answer, is that they have two small moons; one is 1/3 the size of our moon and the second is 1/4 its size.

We from our own Earthen cultures that small geographical features such as mountains, rivers, oceans or deserts can greatly affect cultural traits and beliefs. What effects would the ring add into society and cultural traits?

  • $\begingroup$ What is the ring? Is it a kind of stone thing, or bits of rocks (why doesn't the ring fall)? Does it revolve around the Earth? Are you suggesting a ring like one of Saturn's larger rings? $\endgroup$
    – Mikey
    Jan 26, 2016 at 23:51
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    $\begingroup$ Neil F. Comins goes into this in one of his books, (I believe) What if the Earth Had Two Moons. There would be some very interesting effects, and doubtless, the rings would affect society and belief systems. I have both ofhis "what if" books and will give them quick read to provide you with his explanation as an answer. $\endgroup$ Jan 27, 2016 at 0:23
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    $\begingroup$ It appears that Mr. Comins take on the subject had rested on having two moons, and the eventual collision of both moons at some point int time ... which would eventually coalesce into another moon. Chapter 1, page 31-33 of, What if the Earth Had Two Moons. I had mis-remembered and will pull up another reference for you. Apologies for the secont post, but I missed the edit window (5 minutes). $\endgroup$ Jan 27, 2016 at 0:43
  • $\begingroup$ It would fall in a few years, as described. E.g. the ISS needs boosting due to drag. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Jan 27, 2016 at 13:44

2 Answers 2


That would be quite low for a planetary ring but author fiat and all that. so 17 km to 2,017 km is rocky ring. earth is 12,742 km in diameter

1) it would be spectacular when near the equator and would most likely dominate equatorial religion. Looking like a wall or road in the in the sky visible 565.3 km away. underneath it would be a band across the center of the sky. later at night, it would be a black band blocking the stars but at dusk it would lit-up . I am thinking road deity. The flaming path something along those lines. limited to the equatorial region.

3) it would be under the horizon and hidden from most of the rest of the world 4) from space it would look like this. your image 130 km I suggest you go larger and higher if you want it visible world wide. You need the top to be 7212ish km high for it to be visible by everyone.

  • $\begingroup$ "dominate the equatorial religion"? If it is only 9.6 meters thick you can barely spot it! $\endgroup$ Jan 27, 2016 at 0:45
  • $\begingroup$ This answer refers to the astrological and astronomical effects of the rings, not the cultural effects $\endgroup$
    – TrEs-2b
    Jan 27, 2016 at 0:48
  • $\begingroup$ bigger, higher, thicker $\endgroup$
    – King-Ink
    Jan 27, 2016 at 0:48
  • $\begingroup$ Is 7212 km really enough for everyone to view it? It is cut off by the horizon at a latitude of 62 degrees then. I live at 64... $\endgroup$ Jan 27, 2016 at 0:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Hohmannfan it would catch the light in the morning and evening. also density would be a bigger factor than thickness. I think. But definitely bigger, higher, thicker. would be better. $\endgroup$
    – King-Ink
    Jan 27, 2016 at 0:53

Help! I can not see your ring!

I assume edge of the atmosphere means as close as possible, with absolutely no drag, so that is an altitude of 10000 km. With your stated dimensions, the angular diameter of it is just going to be an arc-degree, even from the optimal latitude. (47 degrees). Compared to the Moon, that is about 30 times smaller.

I doubt an object that is barely visible would have a large cultural effect, although humans seems to be able to make a lot of culture out of invisible things too :)


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