Essentially, since Mercury is closest to the Sun, when measured over time, it is the nearest planet to the Earth and, by extension, the closest planet to each of the other planets in the Solar System. The exact distance between Earth and Mercury varies over time due to their relative positions within the Solar System.
However, because Mercury has only half as much mass as Earth, it is actually further from the Sun than Earth during most of its orbit. But due to its close proximity to the Sun, almost all of Mercury's orbit is spent within 8 degrees of the Sun. At any given moment, then, the closest approach that Mercury makes to the Sun is less than one million miles, or 1.5 million kilometers.
This is much closer than any other planet except Venus, which always stays within 56 millions miles, or 93 million kilometers, of the Sun (Venus orbits the Sun every 225 days).
Earth's average distance from the Sun is about 150 million miles (242 million km), so they miss each other by a factor of more than 10. For this reason, astronomers call Mercury the "nearest planet" to the Earth.
But while Earth travels around the Sun once per year, Mercury takes 87 days to complete one rotation on its axis.
The planet that is nearest to the Sun. It is the smallest planet in the solar system. Mercury is extremely near to the Sun and has no atmosphere. These factors lead to Mercury's surface having the widest temperature variation of any planet or natural satellite in our solar system. The average temperature of its surface is -180° C, but it can reach a maximum temperature of 450° C.
Earth's average temperature is 15° C. Venus' average temperature is 90° C. Mars' average temperature is -60° C.
Mercury has an average distance of 30 million km from the Sun. Earth travels between 31 and 32 million km per year. So yes, mercury has the highest surface temperature of any planet in our solar system.
The heat comes from the sun. On Earth this heat is distributed by water vapor, clouds, carbon dioxide, trees, plants, animals, and people. All these things absorb some of the sun's energy and then release it back out into space. On Mercury there is nothing to scatter the sun's light and heat around. Everything gets hot enough to melt iron on the surface of Mercury!
At its closest approach to the Sun (perihelion) it is still too far away for its gravity to pull it in. At this point in its orbit it takes 89 days to complete one cycle.
Mercury is our solar system's nearest planet to the Sun. It is only seen in the early morning, soon after dawn, or after sunset since it is so near to the sun. In fact, ancient Greek astronomers once thought Mercury was two distinct objects. They called the bright object "Phoebus" after its Roman name.
Modern astronomers know that this isn't true because they can see changes on Mercury's surface through telescopes. The dark areas grow and change shape as different parts of the planet face Earth. These changes are due to geological processes occurring on Mercury. No other planet in the Solar System shows such a clear-cut shadow when viewed from Earth because none of them orbit so close to the Sun.
Even with a telescope, it is difficult to see details on Mercury because it is so small and dim. The best time to observe it is during a planetary standstill when there are no clouds in the sky and you are observing from somewhere with a clear view of the horizon.
In addition to Phoebus, ancient Greeks also named another body in Mercury's orbit "Chronus". This body, which we now know is actually the Moon, appeared larger than Venus but smaller than Jupiter. It is said that Zeus, the king of gods, punished humans for stealing his thunder by making them slaves to care for us animals.
Mercury must have a higher orbital velocity than Earth since it is nearest to the Sun. This is why Mercury is the planet with the greatest speed in relation to our sun. This is also why, when a planet moves away from the sun, its orbital velocity decreases (as long as the orbit is near circular, if not, circular).
Earth's orbital velocity is about 30 km/s, while Mercury's is 43 km/s. This means that it takes Earth 24 hours and 39 minutes to complete one rotation, while Mercury only takes 23 hours 56 minutes.
This is because Mercury has no significant magnetic field, so it can't deflect electrons off of the solar wind like we can. It also has a thin atmosphere which is evaporated by the Sun's heat, so there are no clouds to reflect light either.
These are just some of the reasons why Mercury is the fastest moving planet in our Solar System. There are many more factors such as mass, gravity, and spin but they all play a role in determining a planet's orbital velocity.
Mercury Mercury is the planet that is nearest to the sun. As a result, it rounds the sun quicker than any other planet, prompting the Romans to name it after their swift-footed messenger god. Mercury was also known to the Sumerians at least 5,000 years ago.
Venus Venus is the planet that is furthest from the sun. Because it takes Venus longer to orbit the sun than any other planet, there are two periods when Venus is in the evening sky: once when it's dark out and again when it's light out. During these two periods, you can see stars beyond Venus beaming down to them via sunlight reflected off Earth.
Mars Mars is the planet that is closest to the sun but not close enough for its atmosphere to be heated by it. As a result, Mars is cold and barren, with only a thin veneer of gas molecules blocking our view of his solid core.
Jupiter Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system and the one that is most massive relative to its radius. It occupies more than half of the distance between the Sun and Earth, so it shapes our lives from almost without notice. Jove has been giving and taking away landmasses for hundreds of millions of years, and will continue to do so for many more millions to come.
Mercury, at a distance of 57 million kilometers from the Sun, is the nearest planet to the Sun (35 million miles). Mercury is the smallest of the terrestrial planets. It is also the closest planet to the Sun out of the eight planets in our solar system.
Mercury has a very eccentric orbit, which causes it to come within 0.5 AU of the Sun every couple of years but as far as 495 million miles during other parts of its orbit. This extreme distance from the Sun causes severe changes in climate on the planet. During these cold periods, regions of ice can be found on Mercury's surface for many years before being replaced by warmer temperatures. The location of these polar caps changes periodically as the planet passes through its various orbits around the Sun.
It is difficult to estimate how long it would take someone standing on the surface of Mercury to see how far away the Sun is because the planet's rotation is about 24 hours and it takes light almost an hour to travel around the planet, so if someone was standing in one place they would see the Sun rise and set each day.
The Earth's atmosphere protects us from much of the damage that would otherwise be done by the solar radiation that reaches the ground. But this does not apply to objects like Mercury, which does not have an atmosphere.