Mercury

Planet Mercury is a distinct planet as it is closest to the sun. It is named after a Roman god. In terms of size, it is only one third the size of Earth and is considered a small planet. There is also no substantial atmospheric system within the planet and the thin layer of atmosphere is composed of helium and sodium. Due to its close proximity to the sun, the planet has the greatest temperature range compared to other planets within the solar system. The extreme temperature ranges between 427 degrees Celsius (on the side facing sun) and -183 degrees Celsius (on the side away from Sun).

Previously, scientists faced difficulty in studying this planet due to its close position to the Sun. The study of this planet took a leap during 1960s when a space probe was successfully sent to capture photos and send information back to earth. Since then, the advancement of technology has allowed greater exploration and information discovery about this unique planet. Mercury has a diameter equivalent to two-fifths of Earth’s diameter. It orbits the sun approximately every 88 days. This is very quick compared to the amount taken by earth to orbit sun (365 days). Interestingly, the planet rotates once every 59 earth days. This much slower rotation coupled with rapid movement around the sun causes the planet to experience a much longer day- a day on Mercury is equivalent to 176 earth days!

The planet has no natural satellites (moon) and has an oval-shaped orbit. It is about 48 million miles away from earth and not easily seen from here due to angular positioning and distance from the sun. The surface of the planet is shaped by impact cratering, volcanoism, and tectonic activity.

Planet Mercury or Mercury is not suitable for humans and other species due to extreme temperature and lack of oxygen. However, it is a very special planet and worth learning about.

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