When a planet passes by its own ring system, it can have a lot of collisions. These collisions could be due to the planet being in the middle of a cycle, or it being in close proximity to another planet.
These collisions would happen on occasion, and not every few years. This is due to the rate at which planets rotate.
The speed at which an object rotates depends on what else is around it. If there are no other bodies in close proximity, then the object will rotate faster. This is why small planets may experience more collision events than larger planets.
This is similar to how orbiting bodies have varying sizes because of their distance from the sun. Smaller objects have less space between them for sunlight to reflect off and heat up, resulting in fewer events.
Relatively few collisions
When a star is large, it can experience a very significant number of collisions with its partner stars. These collisions can launch small pieces of debris into space, which travels at high speed in response to the star.
Some of these pieces travel far and are found in the interstellar medium (ISM), where they serve as a nursery for new stars. Others are more local and remain in the same system for millions of years before being relocated.
It is thought that between ten and fifteen percent of all stars are believed to be variable stars, meaning they change in brightness over time. This is thought to be caused by the movement of a planet that passes close to it.
Cosmic rays are a concern for space travelers
While the majority of our universe’s mass is in the planets and moons, there are some larger objects out there.
Some of these objects are quite old and have undergone a lot of cosmic ray bombardment over time. These pieces are called cosmic ray stuctures.
These huge structures have been hit by many different kinds of rays, including one that is responsible for creating lightning. This one hit is named K-37, and it is an ordinary dark star that has developed a ring around itself.
This ring has developed due to this single strike, which has caused many tiny particles in the rays to penetrate and bounce off the star as it grew. This caused it to develop a long thin ring around itself.
Understanding particle physics through collisions
Particle physics is the study of the fundamental interactions that occur at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). These include the forces that hold together atoms and molecules, as well as those that determine what types of particles exist in a vacuum.
The LHC is one of the most powerful particle accelerators in the world. Located near Geneva, Switzerland, it was constructed over more than a decade by five nations: France, Italy, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland.
Its purpose is to study whether there are new phases of matter and energy existing outside our universe that aren’t described by familiar concepts like atoms, molecules and events.
The LHC was designed to generate large numbers of very short-lived particle collisions. By generating so many small events, the scientists can determine if there are new phases of matter with little understanding from us.
Collisions happen all the time
After the sun was born, it wandered around for a time before it settled in as our home. Then, over the next few million years, it gradually grew in size and complexity, until at some point in its long life, it came into contact with another object.
This happens to the Earth often, as small objects escape from giant planets like Jupiter and pass close to Earth. It also happens to us when we are hit by a comet or an asteroid.
But how many times? And when? We don’t really know! Even if a small particle survived for the age of the solar system, it would eventually collide with something else and be destroyed. This is called a planet-or-object collision and is why we have moons like Gaseous Europa and frozen ground on Mars.
Where are the ring particles?
After the ring particles travel through space for thousands of years, they come to a stop. This is due to the fact that they have been subjected to the vast amount of collisions that our solar system undergoes.
Many of these collisions occur when a planet passes close to another, and it continues until it hits another planet or body and rebounds back towards our sun.
These collisions are extremely violent, and as a result, many objects are destroyed in a fire-storm of energy. These flames continue to burn until all material has cooled down and gone away.
This is what causes the rings we see around some planets. They were destroyed in this manner, only to re-emerge later in history as new planets formed around our sun.
What do ring particles look like?
When two large asteroids pass closer to each other, they occasionally break off small pieces that stick around for a while. These pieces may look like tiny rings, or particles.
These ring-particle fragments are very rare, though. Most of them do not survive and stay together for very long. However, there are some cases where a ring particle may stick around for hundreds of years!
One possible reason these small ring particles retain their shape and identity is because they are made out of stony material. Another possibility is that they have a strong gravitational effect on the asteroid that formed them.
Could a ring particle make it to Earth?
If a ring particle survived for the age of the solar system, it would have to endure quite a few collisions. This is because our Sun is a relatively small star that orbits a larger one.
As our Sun orbits, travels, and passes by other stars it can hit. Even though it is so large, only the smallest of planets could withstand being hit by the Sun!
Many of those hits would be extremely close together, making it very difficult for any particle to survive. For example, if a ring particle passed through another planet’s ring system at close range, then that planet’s rings could pass through it and hit its surface.
How do we know about these particles?
Particles like carbon-sulfur particles are very rare in the Solar System. Only a few grams of these particles have been found, and they account for only a minute fraction of the material that has passed through the system.
These rare particles make up a tiny fraction of the Universe, so their numbers are even smaller than that. However, because they are so small, scientists can study them more closely than larger atoms or larger molecules.
Because carbon-sulfur is tiny, it is possible to look at it closely in different states. For example, carbon-sulfur can exist as simple carbon atoms bonded together, or complex carbon-carbon bonds.
How do we know which state an atom is in? When scientists detect these particles, they use methods that look for changes in color.