Space Wednesday: Mercury

Moving right along, we’re now going to talk about Mercury.

Basic Stuff


Mercury is one of the two elements on the periodic table that is a liquid at room temperature. It is used in conventional thermomete- Sorry, wrong Mercury. Mercury the planet is the first planet from the sun and smallest. Mercury is named for the Roman messenger god, equivilent to the Greek Hermes. Mercury looks a lot like our moon. It has a lot of craters and no actual atmosphere. Since I’ve mentioned something chemical about both Mars and Venus, here’s a composition fact. Mercury has a large iron core, creating a magnetic field 1% as strong as that of the Earth.

Alone in Space
Mercury, as mentioned in the Venus post, has no moon. Instead, it has the Sun. Not saying the Sun is like the moon, the primary difference being that the Sun does not orbit the planets because it’s kind of the center of the universe. But anyway…

Rotation and Orbit
Mercury is the most eccentric of the planets. No, I don’t mean that Mercury is really fun to have at parties, I mean its orbit is the farthest from a perfect circle of any of the planets. Its distance from the sun during its orbit ranges from 46 to 70 million kilometers from the Sun.   This orbit takes 88 Earth days. Also, Mercury has an axial tilt of almost zero, the least tilt of any planet. Earth’s, comparatively, is 23.4.

From the Earth
Mercury is hard to see from Earth because of how close it is to the Sun. Because of this, it can only be observed briefly during dawn or dusk. The Hubble Telescope can’t even observe Mercury because it’s too close to the Sun. It’s easier to see Mercury when you’re in the Southern hemisphere than from the Northern hemisphere this is basically because Mercury is at it’s brightest during Southern Hemisphere Winter, this combined with the Sun coming up later and setting earlier makes it all together much more convenient to view Mercury.

That’s all I could really get about Mercury. As far as I kind tell, it’s not all that interesting as a planet. I’ll be back soon for another Space Wednesday. Next up: The Sun.
Feel free to tell me about any factual errors or if there’s specific information you’d like about future planets (not planets from the future, planets that are yet to be Space Wednesday-ed)



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