The Moon and Mercury Mercury (left) and the moon of Earth (right). Both are seen here in their natural (but extended) colors. Mercury was photographed by the MESSENGER spacecraft as it passed by the planet. Eric Kilby, an astrophotographer, captured the moon.
Yes, the Moon is white, gray, or blackish-gray colored. It's surface is made up of old volcanoes that have been eroded over time by wind and water. The dark areas on the moon are called "maria" which means "seas" in Latin because they used to be filled with water.
Have you ever seen pictures of the moon where it looks like there are some bright spots everywhere? That's because most of the time the moon is not visible from Earth because it goes behind a cloud or something else darker than itself. When this happens sensors on earth can still see it because it reflects light from stars back to earth. This allows astronomers to study objects across the night sky that we could never see with our own eyes.
The best times to see the moon are when the earth is between the sun and moon. If you look at the full moon then about half of it is illuminated by sunlight reflected off of oceans, continents, and ice caps. The other half is always dark. The month when the moon is closest to the earth is called "moonrise".
Mercury resembles Earth's moon in appearance. Mercury's surface, like our moon's, is riddled with craters created by space rock strikes. But because Mercury is so much closer to the sun, it experiences much higher temperatures than Earth's satellite.
The Earth's moon is always around because it's a part of Earth. But why does Mercury appear to move across the sky? It doesn't! The planet Mercury is actually quite stable and will never change position relative to the stars behind it. It's only our view of it that changes because we know that it moves around Earth.
By measuring the distance between Mercury and other objects in the solar system using modern telescopes and equipment, scientists can estimate with great accuracy when something bad happened to the planet. These "Krisis" events are associated with large asteroid impacts.
In fact, the largest known body in the solar system is likely an impact crater named "Vulcan." Scientists think that it may be responsible for creating Earth's atmosphere as well as its oceans.
People have been aware of Mercury's presence in the night sky since ancient times. It has been described as a "wandering star" or "morning star," because it appears to move east to west across the sky just before dawn.
Mercury is a planet. Mercury is the eighth biggest planet and the closest to the sun. It orbits the sun once every 87 days.
Venus is a planet with a surface that is very similar to Earth's. If you flew over Venus' northern hemisphere today you would see that it is covered by large clouds made of water vapor. Under these clouds are vast oceans of water that lie hidden beneath an air layer 100 miles thick. These waters could potentially support life as we know it. However, the southern half of Venus is completely different. Here there is no water at all – it has been evaporated by the heat from within the planet. The air on Venus is so dense that if there were animals on Venus they would be crushed by the weight of the air above them.
Mars is a planet that used to be able to support life but no longer can. Mars used to have more atmospheric pressure than it does now. At one time, it may have had water under its surface which now lies far beneath its thin atmosphere. Scientists think that some of this water may still be present in the form of ice deposits near Mars' north pole. However, most scientists believe that any water that used to exist on Mars is long gone.