Our solar system consists of eight major planets and three dwarf planets. Amongst the eight major planets, Mercury is the smallest one. At the same time, it is closest to the sun. The planet is only slightly larger than Moon and is filled with craters on its surface. It does not have a satellite of its own and is also devoid of any rings. The atmosphere of Mercury consists of sodium, helium, hydrogen and oxygen. The planet appears bright, when seen from earth. The name ‘Mercury’ was given to this planet because of its high speed orbit. Because of the brightness of Mercury and its relative big size, it was quite often mistaken as a star. Most of the information about this planet was discovered recently until in 1974-1975, Mariner 10 went to Mercury. Excited to know more facts about Mercury? Scroll further and read on some more interesting and amazing facts about mercury.
Equatorial Diameter: 4879.4
Polar Diameter: 4879.4
Density: 5.427 g/cm3
Volume: 60,827,208,742 km3
Chemical Composition: 42% Molecular oxygen, 29.0% sodium, 22.0% hydrogen, 6.0% helium, 0.5% potassium, trace amounts of argon, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, water vapor, xenon, krypton and neon
Revolution Time: 88 Earth days
Rotation Time: 58.65 Earth days
Number of Moons: Nil
Discovered In: 1639
Named After: Roman God Mercury (son of Maia Maiestas)
Number Of Rings: Nil
Distance From Earth: 77.3 million km
State: Solid surface
Planetary Expeditions: Mariner 10
Interesting & Fun Facts about Mercury
- Mercury takes 59 days to make a rotation, but only 88 days to circle the Sun. That means that there are fewer than 2 days in a year at Mercury!
- Mercury is denser than any other planet in the solar system, except Earth.
- The surface temperatures on Mercury ranges from about 90K to 700K (−180°C to 430°C), with the sub-solar point being the hottest and bottoms of the craters near the poles being the coldest.
- The English name for the planet comes from the Romans, who named it after the Roman god 'Mercury'.
- Mercury can only be seen early morning and in twilight.
- Before 4th century BC, Greek astronomers believed Mercury to be two separate objects: one visible only at sunrise, which they called 'Apollo' and the other visible only at sunset, which they called 'Hermes'.
- Mercury is the only planet whose orbit is coplanar with its equator.
- Mercury is a heavily cratered planet, composed of rock with a central iron core that is three-quarters of the diameter of the planet (3,600 km).
- Mercury has a large iron core, which generates a magnetic field about 1% as strong as that of the Earth.
- Mercury has no atmosphere and no known satellites.
- The first visit to Mercury was made by the Mariner 10 spacecraft, in 1974.
- The second visit to Mercury was by 'MESSENGER' spacecraft.
- If you were to stand on Mercury, Sun would appear two and a half times bigger than what it looks from Earth.
- Despite being the planet closest to the Sun, Mercury is not the warmest. Rather, Venus is warmer and Mercury can be one of the coldest planets in the Solar System
- Mercury takes the record for the most eccentric orbit. This means that its orbit is an ellipse, varying its distance to the Sun. At its closest point, Mercury gets to within 46 million km of sum. Then, it ranges out to 70 million km away from the Sun.
- A weak magnetic field was detected by Mariner 10, around the planet Mercury which was very similar to the field found around earth.
- Around the poles of Mercury, there are certain regions on its surface which never receives sun’s radiations. Due to this reason, they are always in shadow and the temperature is very less. Water exists in the form of ice here, in these craters and they are in the same form for about millions of years.
- Mercury has an iron core similar to that of Earth and is considered to be the planet which is most rich in iron in the universe.