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Mercury

Mercury

Mercury is innermost and smallest planet of the Solar System.

Geography

Keywords

Mercury, Solar System, inner planets, rocky planet, Sun, planet, astronomy, geography

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Mercury is one of the planets of the Solar System, an inner planet closest to the Sun. It is the smallest planet in the Solar System; 2 of the moons are larger than Mercury: Ganymede (orbiting Jupiter) and Titan (orbiting Saturn).
Mercury is a rocky planet (terrestrial planet), the second densest in the Solar System (5.43 g/cm³ or 0.196 lb/in³), due to its iron core. When observed from the Earth, it is always close to the Sun, never moving further away than 22 degrees from it, and it has phases, similarly to the Moon.

Data:

Diameter: 4,879.4 km (3,032 mi or 0.383 Earths)

Mass: 3.302×10²³ kg (7.3 ×10²³ lb or 0.055 Earths)

Avarage density: 5.43 g/cm³ (0.196 lb/in³)

Surface gravity: 0.378 g

Surface temperature: -180 °C – 430 °C (-292 °F – 806 °F)

Number of moons: 0

Rotation period: 58.6 days

Axial tilt: 2.1°

Average distance from the Sun:
57,909,176 km = 35,980,000 mi = 0.38 AU = 3.22 light minutes

Orbital eccentricity: 0.206

Orbital period: 87.97 days (3/2 of the rotation period)

  • - The 100–300 km (62–186 mi) thick layer consists of silicate-rich material.
  • - This 600 km (373 mi) thick part consists of silicates.

  • average distance from the Sun: 57,909,176 km (35,980,000 mi)

  • - The 100–300 km (62–186 mi) thick layer consists of silicate-rich material.
  • - This 600 km (373 mi) thick part consists of silicates.
  • average distance from the Sun: 57,909,176 km (35,980,000 mi)

Narration

Recorded observations of Mercury date back to the first millennium B.C. Before the 4th century B.C., Greek astronomers believed it to be two separate planets, one visible at sunrise, the other at sunset. The former was named Apollo, the latter Hermes. Later, Pythagoras realized that the two planets were the same. The English name for the planet comes from the Romans, who named it after the Roman god Mercury. They identified him with Hermes, the Greek messenger of the gods, the protector of travelers, and guide of dead souls.

Comparatively little information is available about the planet. Two space probes have visited Mercury. The first of these was Mariner 10, which mapped only 45% of its surface. The second was MESSENGER, launched in 2004, flying by Mercury several times and taking pictures of nearly the entire surface. In 2011, it was placed in orbit around the planet (Messenger probe).

Mercury is one of the planets of the Solar System, an inner planet closest to the Sun. It is the smallest planet in the Solar System; two moons are larger than Mercury: Ganymede (orbiting Jupiter) and Titan (orbiting Saturn).

Mercury is a rocky planet (terrestrial planet), the second densest in the solar system (5.43 g/cm³ or 0.196 lb/in³), due to its iron core.

When observed from the Earth, it is always close to the Sun, never moving further away than 22 degrees from it, and it has phases, similarly to the Moon.

The surface of the planet is similar to that of the Moon: cratered plateaus and smooth volcanic plains alternate, with fold mountains, rocky regions and valleys. The circular Caloris Basin, 1,400 km (867 mi) in diameter, may have been created by a powerful impact.

The surface of Mercury receives 6 times more radiation from the Sun than the Earth. The day side of the planet is very hot, while the night side is very cold. This is due to the lack of an atmosphere that would equalize the temperature and the planet's very slow rotation. From among all the planets, the albedo of Mercury is the lowest.

As for material and chemical composition, Mercury is a terrestrial planet. It has nearly the same density as the Earth does, with an iron content of about twice that of Earth. The iron-nickel core takes up around 75% of the total radius of the planet. This core represents 80% of the total mass. The strength of Mercury’s magnetic field is only 1% that of the Earth.

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