Mercury is the solar system's smallest planet. It is the planet that is nearest to the sun. It completes one orbit around the sun every 87.969 days. When visible from Earth, Mercury has an apparent magnitude varying from -2.0 to 5.5. It is difficult to notice since it is generally very near to the sun. However it does have several features on its surface that are visible from Earth.
The Earth's atmosphere protects us from most of the harmful effects of cosmic radiation. However, there are some particles in the environment that can reach our planet and impact it without being destroyed. One of these particles is mercury. When mercury enters the atmosphere it becomes airborne and can be transported by wind currents across large distances. Once in water, mercury will dissolve and be absorbed by organisms at each stage of its life cycle. This includes fish eaten by humans, which may contain high levels of this toxic metal. In addition, when mercury accumulates in the soil or debris from natural events (such as volcanic eruptions) it can find its way into water sources if it comes in contact with the soil or debris.
In general, mercury is a chemical element that can exist in two different stable forms: liquid at room temperature and pressure and solid at standard temperature and pressure. Liquid mercury is colorless and extremely toxic. Solid mercury is white and less toxic than liquid mercury but still hazardous.
Interesting Mercury Facts
Mercury meanings from science (2 of 2) Mercury. The smallest and nearest planet to the Sun in the solar system. Mercury is a terrestrial or inner planet, second only to Earth in density, with a craggy, extensively cratered surface akin to Earth's Moon. It orbits the Sun every 88 days at an average distance of 40 million km (25 million miles).
Mercury is named after the Greek god of commerce and communication. He was also the messenger between the gods and humans and was often depicted as having wings like a bird on his head or back. Some say they saw him carried off by the wind but others say he was changed into a bird because he was considered a dangerous creature for his role as a messenger.
There are two reasons why scientists think that mercury might be harmful to human health: first, it is a toxic metal that can cause serious damage to organs such as the brain and the lungs if it gets into your body; second, it can enter people through their skin when they come in contact with products such as thermometers, barometers, and fluorescent lamps containing this element.
People can be exposed to mercury through different sources such as eating fish contaminated by mercury runoff, breathing air polluted by industrial emissions, or consuming medicines containing this element.
Mercury is the solar system's smallest terrestrial planet, measuring around one-third the size of Earth. It has a thin atmosphere, which allows temperatures to fluctuate between scorching and freezing. Mercury, like Earth, is a dense planet made largely of iron and nickel, with an iron core. However it has no ocean because of its small size; instead, it has a large magnetic field.
These properties make Mercury an inner planet. It orbits closer to the sun than any other planet except for Venus, which explains its intense heat. As well as being inside the orbit of Venus, Mercury also lies inside that of Earth, so it experiences all four seasons. However, because it takes 87.969 days to orbit the sun, this means that it takes only 0.0969 years to complete one rotation, which is very slow compared with the time it takes other planets to rotate about their axes (which is why we see only one side of Mercury at a time).
Consequently, all parts of Mercury experience day and night throughout its entire year, but these periods are so short that each region gets only two or three days of sunlight before darkness falls again.
The reason Mercury is so close to the sun is because it has no mass enough to escape from the solar system entirely.
Mercury is the planet closest to the Sun and the most difficult to view since it is usually in the sky relatively close to the Sun. It seems to swing back and forth around the Sun due to its orbital motion, reaching a maximum angular distance of around 28 degrees.
The best times to observe Mercury are around dawn and dusk when it rises over the eastern horizon and sets over the western horizon. Be sure not to miss this beautiful planet!
Mercury can only be seen with the naked eye from locations where there is an adequate amount of sunlight throughout the year. It is too close to the Sun to be viewed comfortably with the unaided eye during the day; only telescopes can reveal its many details.
Dawn and dusk are the best times to observe Mercury because at these times it can just make it out from under the solar glare.
It takes about 12 hours for Mercury to orbit the Sun and so each face of Earth sees it pass over once every 12 hours. But because of how close it moves to the sun, only certain parts of the planet are always in daylight: those regions near the center of the planet that experience no sunset or sunrise.
The reason why we can't see Mercury with our eyes alone is that it doesn't give off enough light to be noticed in the night sky.
It is the smallest and closest planet to the sun. 4. The temperature is measured using a mercury thermometer. 1. The temperature fell to 5 degrees below zero. 2. The mercury in the tube froze at -4 degrees Celsius.
Mercury, as you might expect given its speed, is the planet nearest to the sun and hence the most influenced by its gravity as it zooms around and about. At an average distance of 40 million km (25 million miles), even Venus, which is closer than Mercury, cannot outrun it when it moves between them. But despite its proximity to the sun, Mercury's atmosphere is almost completely stripped away by the heat until only its core remains. It has the fastest rotation of any planet or moon in our solar system - 48 days - because all of its other attractions are locked inside this core.
Its orbit is also the shortest path around the Sun, but because it is so close to the Sun it receives a strong solar wind that pushes against it with immense force. This is why the inner surface of Mercury is completely covered by large, smooth plains called maria. The solar wind breaks down oxygen into two elements: oxygen atoms and oxygen ions. Oxygen ions are the ones that reach Mercury first and are responsible for making the planet's atmosphere rarefied. Once they arrive there are no more ions left over to create more molecules with so there is no air pressure like on Earth.