The sunsets would be impossibly beautiful. The evening sky would glitter with a thousand silver arcs. If Earth had rings like Saturn, you'd only have to look up to get a spectacular show.
Veteran astronomy artist Ron Miller has created some stunning views of what our skies would look like if Earth were a ringed planet, and they make me want to launch a Kickstarter campaign to make it happen.
In a recent article for sci-fi blog io9, Miller presented his wild visions of a ringed Earth and what the sky would look like from various places on our planet.
He notes that Earth did have a ring long ago. It was the result of a cataclysmic planetary crash that precipitated the formation of the moon.
Saturn's existing rings did not form moons because the material lies within its Roche limit. That's the radius within which orbiting bodies will generally disintegrate under gravitational stress. What if the material that went into our moon had been within Earth's Roche limit? Miller's visions are a possible answer.
Miller, a former art director at the National Air & Space Museum's Albert Einstein Planetarium, has produced illustrations that have graced nearly every publication with cool science ideas, from Scientific American to Starlog. He has also designed U.S. postage stamps, translated works by Jules Verne, and worked as a production illustrator on "Dune" and "Total Recall."
He has authored numerous books, including "The Dream Machines," a comprehensive history of manned spacecraft, and has illustrated dozens of covers for fantasy and science fiction books.
"I am an astronomical illustrator by profession and have always had a special fondness for Saturn," Miller tells CNET.
"I was looking through some of my old space books and ran across an illustration of what Saturn's rings might look like from London if the earth possessed the rings, which had been done in the late 1920s.
"It started me thinking that this might make an interesting series of pictures, showing what the rings would look like from different latitudes."