Mercury Facts

Mercury Facts
Mercury is the smallest planet in our solar system and it is also the closest one to the sun. It was named after the fast-flying Roman messenger to the Gods, Mercury. Mercury is one of the four terrestrial planets, and it has the second highest density of all planets in our solar system; Earth's density is the highest. Mercury's existence was first recorded by Assyrian astronomers in 14th century BC. It is most easily seen at twilight from Earth. 13 times each century on Earth it is possible to see Mercury as it passes across the Sun's face. May 9th, 2016 will be the next opportunity to view this small planet during this phenomenon called transit.
Interesting Mercury Facts:
Mercury's mass is 330,104,000,000,000 kg which is equal to 0.055 x the mass of Earth.
Mercury's equatorial circumference is 15,329 km.
Mercury's diameter is only two-fifths of the diameter of Earth.
Mercury has no known moons.
It takes 87.97 Earth days for mercury to orbit the sun.
Something that weighs 37 pounds on Mercury would weigh 100 pounds on Earth.
Mercury's surface temperature is between -173 degrees Celsius at night to 427 degrees Celsius during the day.
The massive fluctuation in temperature is due to the fact that Mercury has an almost zero atmosphere, and therefore has no ability to retain heat, despite the fact that it is the closest planet to the sun.
Every time Mercury orbits the sun twice, it also rotates on its axis three times. This made people believe that only one side of Mercury faced the sun all the time. In 1965 it was discovered that this was not true.
One year on Mercury only has 88 days, but one day on Mercury lasts 176 Earth days.
Only five planets in our solar system can be seen with the naked eye. Mercury is one of them.
Mercury is made up of mostly rock and heavy metals.
Some scientists believe that Mercury's core is made up of molten iron as opposed to solid iron as was previously thought.
Mercury's surface is covered in craters due to the impact of asteroids and comets. Mercury does not have the ability to heal as many other planets are able to do via geological processes.
Many of Mercury's craters have been named after artists and writers.
The largest crater caused by impact on Mercury is the Caloris Basin. This crater is 1,550 km in diameter and was discovered by the Mariner 10 probe in 1974.
Because of how close Mercury is to the sun it is difficult to visit, but the Mariner 10 did a flyby in 1974 and in 1975, allowing the mapping of almost half the planet.
In 2004 the Messenger probe left Cape Canaveral to visit Mercury again.
Mercury has wrinkles on its surface called Lobate Scarps, created when the iron core cooled and shrunk. These wrinkles can reach hundreds of miles in length and up to a mile in height.
The rays of the sun are approximately seven times stronger on Mercury than they are on Earth.
BepiColombo, a mission to map Mercury and to study its magnetosphere, is set to launch in 2015. The two probes to be launched will not reach Mercury until 2019.

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