How do you calculate the orbital period of Mercury?

How do you calculate the orbital period of Mercury?

Because the orbital period of the Earth is exactly 365.25 days, get Mercury's orbital period by multiplying the figure you just obtained for Mercury by 365.25: Porb ("Mercury") = days. The answer is commensurate with what you would expect from a planet of negligible mass compared to the Earth: about 88 days.

As with the other planets, the orbit of Mercury is not perfectly circular but rather elliptical, with its major axis pointing almost directly towards the Sun. The eccentricity of Mercury's orbit varies between 0.09 and 0.13 over an orbit of about 87.9 days. That means that if Mercury were located at a point on its orbit where the distance from the Earth was equal to its average distance from the Earth (about 59 million km), then it would experience extreme temperatures: close to 500°C near the Sun and -180°C near the Earth.

The reason why Mercury has such extreme temperatures is because it orbits so close to the Sun. If Mercury were as far away as the Earth then it would experience temperatures similar to those on Earth, since it is only the proximity to the Sun that makes the difference.

It takes Mercury approximately 24 hours to complete one orbit around the Sun.

What is Mercury’s time?

Long Years, Short Days One day on Mercury (the time it takes Mercury to rotate or spin once in relation to the stars) is equivalent to 59 Earth days. Mercury's day-night cycle lasts 175.97 Earth days. Mercury completes one orbit around the Sun (one year in Mercury time) in just 88 Earth days. It takes Mercury longer than Earth to circle the Sun because it orbits closer to the Sun.

Mercury has very little air to breathe, so there is no place on its surface where humans could live. But we know that it used to be covered by ice and snow, and some scientists think that part of it may still be frozen under its crust. Any water that does get released from beneath the planet's crust would be extremely hot - hundreds of degrees Celsius (well over 400 degrees Fahrenheit) - making it unsuitable for life as we know it.

But even if Mercury wasn't too hot for human life, it would be impossible to survive there for any length of time. The pressure during most of the year is almost enough to crush a human body into a fine powder. Only when Mercury is close to the Sun do we begin to feel its effects; at those times the pressure reduces slightly.

The best place to go on Mercury would have to be one of its two magnetic poles. They are regions of intense magnetic activity caused by dynamo-like processes going on within the planet itself.

What do Earth and Mercury have in common?

Both Mercury and Earth are inner planets. They both orbit the sun, but their orbital periods are different. Mercury and Earth are both rocky planets made up of land and rock. The Earth's orbital period is 365 days, and it takes twenty-four hours to complete a full day and night cycle. The mercury planet has only 88 days from one end of its orbit to the other.

There is no life as we know it today on either Mercury or Earth, although each may have had at some time in their history conditions suitable for supporting life. The early Earth was very hot, with average temperatures around 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius). Any living organisms that arose then would have been burned away by the heat within a few months.

The last time there was water on Earth was about 3.5 billion years ago. Even though plants come in many different forms, they all contain water inside their cells. Without this water, the cells would be dried out like a fruit drop overnight. Water is also needed to create organic chemicals that build up the soil and help crops grow. So without water, there would be no life as we know it today.

In November 2008, the New Horizons spacecraft flew by Pluto. What it found surprised scientists. There is evidence that Pluto once may have had an atmosphere, but it has now evaporated leaving behind a cold, dry world.

About Article Author

Rosalyn Keller

Rosalyn Keller is a spiritual healer and yoga teacher. She has been living in the US for over 12 years, and she loves it here. Rosalyn teaches people how to heal their minds, bodies, and souls using yoga techniques. Rosalyn studied the healing arts from the traditional Tibetan Buddhist perspective before immigrating to America from Nepal. Her love of helping others led her into teaching classes on healing through meditation and mindfulness which eventually evolved into teaching yoga.

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