Does Mercury Have Rings?

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** Does Mercury Have Rings? **

by Fraser Cain on June 24, 2009

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Mercury's limb. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics
Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Mercury's limb. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics
Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington


Think about the planets in the Solar System; Saturn has rings, so do
Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune. So what about Mercury? Does planet Mercury
have rings?

Sorry, Mercury doesn’t have rings right now. I say right now, because
it’s possible that Mercury has had rings in the past, and it could have
them again in the future.



There are two ways that scientists think a planet can get rings. The first
is the icy rings around Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune. Scientists
think that Saturn’s rings come from an icy object or moon that was
crushed under Saturn’s gravity, becoming its rings. It’s also possible
that the ring material just formed in place back when the Solar System
formed. We also know that some of Saturn’s moons, like Enceladus, are
continuing to spew fresh material into the rings.

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Unfortunately, Mercury could never get rings like this. That’s because
it’s too close to the Sun. The powerful solar winds blast out from the
Sun, and would melt and destroy any icy rings around Mercury. In fact, ice
can’t exist closer to the Sun than the asteroid belt, unless it’s
hidden in shadow, or protected by an atmosphere like we have on Earth.

The second way for a ring to form is


Source: www.universetoday.com/33394/does-mercury-have-rings/

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