In my earth-like world, there is one thing that separates it from Earth; this world has a single rocky ring, around 10.3 meters thick, 5(ish) miles wide.

In our own world we know that without an orbiting body a world will lack tides. Our own moon creates tides despite being over 380 000 kilometres and we have asked what having two moons would do to tides, but we have not asked what having rings would do to a world in terms of tides. So what would the effects of rings be on tides?


2 Answers 2


While hohmannfan is correct it's not quite the full answer.

In a traditional ring setup where the ring is in line with the planets equator then the tidal effects will be small and just down to variations/oscillations in the rings.

If on the other hand though the rings are not lined up with the equator then you would get tidal effects every day as the planet surface rotated with respect to the position of the ring. Setting this up would involve some unusual mechanics probably involving a moon being captured in an unusual orbit and then breaking up to form a ring.

Note that the gravitational effects near a ring are strange, the strongest effects do not happen directly under the ring. See this paper for some more information:


  • $\begingroup$ I'm interested in hearing more about those 'strange gravitational effects' near a ring. Unfortunately, the article you link to is a bit too technical for me. Could you perhaps put it in layman's terms? Or are those effects merely really close to the ring, and not on the surface of the planet? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ @ThomasMyron Honestly I wrote that 2 years ago so not without going and researching it all over again which I don't really have time to do right now :) Try google or ask it as a separate question here or on Physics.SE. $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 16:32

No effect at all.

Gravitational influence on its own is not enough, you must have variations to create tides. In a ring, the mass is distributed equally in a symmetrical shape.

To turn the question on its head, can the tides have an effect on the rings? Yes, if one or more moons are orbiting the planet, they can make waves in the rings, like just visible in this image of Saturn's rings:

tides in rings


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