Photography By European Space Agency
Incredible view of Antarctica with sea ice at its maximum, in the month of September [on September 21, 2005], made from the data taken by the AMSR-E instrument, a device designed to capture temperatures and sea ice concentration onboard NASA’s Aqua satellite.
If Earth Had Rings
First off, they would be really pretty to look at. They would also dominate the sky in both night and day at exactly the same place as they would never rise nor set. And at night you would see the Earth’s shadow swing across the rings, like in the 4th photo here.
However, life would be very different on Earth if this were the case. Nocturnal animals would have a hard time being nocturnal, as the light reflecting from the rings would illuminate the night.
Because we are closer to the Sun than Saturn is, the rings would be more rocky than ice, making them less bright but still pretty bright. In fact, you would see far less stars at night (living anywhere other than the equator or the arctic circle) because of the light pollution and not to mention ruin most meteor showers because of that.
During the day the rings would block sunlight in certain regions of the planet creating wild weather cycles and effecting plant life as well. So basically, they would be definitely pretty to look at but they would also make a whole lot of things screwy.
Illustrations by Ron Miller // io9
— Click the photos for captions
“The home planet of an emerging technical civilization, struggling to avoid self-destruction. The Earth travels some 2 and a half million kilometers every day around the Sun; eight times faster than that around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy; and, perhaps, twice faster still as the Milky Way falls toward the Virgo cluster of galaxies. We have always been space travelers.” — Carl Sagan
Image by the Russian Federal Space Agency