Planets 2 Background 2.1 Cosmology 2.1.12 Student Overview Day 1

Planets

Mercury ] Venus ] Mars ] Jupiter ] Saturn ] Uranus ] Neptune ] Pluto ] 


Mercury, the planet nearest the Sun, is the second smallest planet in our solar system. Only slightly larger than the Earth's moon, Mercury's surface is covered with craters. This tiny planet does not have any rings or moons.


Basic Facts

 

Mercury

Earth

Position from the Sun

1

3

Diameter

3,031 miles (4,878 km)

7,926 miles (12,753 km)

Moons

0

1

Rings

0

0

Average Distance from Sun

36,000,000 miles (58,000,000 km)

93,000,000 miles (149,000,000 km)

Your Weight on the Planet

Multiply your weight by 0.38

Multiply your weight by 1.0

Length of One Year

88 Earth days

365 Earth days

Length of One Day

59 Earth days

1 Earth day

Whats in the Atmosphere?

Sodium, helium, hydrogen, oxygen

Nitrogen, oxygen

Temperature

-280F to 800F

(-170C to 430C)

-128F to 136F

(-89C to 58C)


Discovery

Mercury's orbit is so close to the Sun that it is difficult to see. This explains why some early astronomers didnt see it. Viewed from Earth, Mercury is never far from the Sun in the sky. Because the Sun is so bright, Mercury can only be seen in twilight.

Timocharis made the first recorded observation of Mercury in 265 BC.


Missions to Mercury

Mission

Launch Date

Arrival Date

Mission Accomplishments

Mariner 10 (USA)

November 3, 1973

March 29, 1974

Took 10,000 pictures, covered 57% of Mercury


Interesting Facts About Mercury


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