36 million kilometers. Mercury is 0.4 astronomical units distant from the Sun at an average distance of 36 million miles (58 million kilometers). The average surface temperature of Mercury is 450 degrees Fahrenheit (232 degrees Celsius).
The Earth's orbit around the Sun is not exactly circular, but rather elliptical. In fact, our orbit takes us as close as 4 million kilometers from the Sun and as far away as 595 thousand kilometers. During an eclipse, when the Moon is between the Earth and Sun, the only part of the Earth that sees direct sunlight are those areas directly facing the Sun. At other times of the year, parts of Antarctica see daylight for several months at a time.
During a total solar eclipse, the Moon blocks out the Sun from view. Because the Moon is completely covered by the Earth, only certain regions of the lunar surface are blocked from view. Those regions where the Moon's face is turned toward the Earth will appear as bright spots against the dark background of the lunar landscape. As these areas redden they become hotter than normal, causing mare to maria to flow into their hollow centers. Mare basins are large, relatively shallow depressions in the lunar surface formed when this molten rock drains back into the solid crust of the moon.
The distance between the Sun and Earth is measured in astronomical units (abbreviated as AU). It takes 3.2 minutes for sunlight to get from the Sun reach Mercury at this distance.
The trip from Mercury to the Sun is called a 'Mercury orbit'. Because Mercury orbits the Sun every 487 days, this flight time will vary between 471 and 491 days.
In other words, you can say that it takes Mercury about 487/3.2=15.9 years to complete one orbit around the Sun. Its year is therefore calculated as being only 58% as long as ours (because 1 year on Mercury is only 58% of a year on Earth). The amount of dust and debris in the atmosphere causes most solar eclipses on Mercury to be partial rather than total.
It takes Mercury 6 hours 56 minutes 35.5 seconds to rotate once on its axis. This is slower than the Earth (which takes 24 hours), but more than Venus (which takes 2 hours). The lack of a strong magnetic field means that particles from space do reach Mercury's surface, but they are usually trapped within the planet's cloud-covered atmosphere for several months at a time.
Dust storms on Mercury can last for weeks or even months, which could account for some of the mystery surrounding its environment.
Mercury, for example, is around 36,250,000 miles from the sun on average. If we divide 36,250,000 by 91,000, we get 398 inches away from the basketball in our model. That's about as far as you can be from the sun and still have sunlight fall on your hemisphere.
The solar radius is about 864 million miles or 1350 million kilometers. So the sun would have to be about 740 miles or 1165 km across for its surface to be completely dark in relation to Mercury. But since the sun is actually about 700,000 miles wide, most of its surface is always visible from Earth.
It's helpful to think about how much energy the sun emits each day. The Earth gets bombarded with enough radiation to cause damage to living organisms every day. But only a small part of that energy reaches the surface because most of it is absorbed by the atmosphere and the rest goes into the oceans.
The amount of energy the sun emits each day is about 5 x 1026 watts (5 billion trillion watts). This is more than the total power consumption of the world today. It is also about 50 times the power generation capacity of all the nuclear reactors in the world combined.