Mercury Amazing Facts

30 Amazing and Interesting Facts about Mercury | Amazing Facts 4U 

  1. The name Mercury was actually given by the Romans after their messenger God considered to be very swift-footed.
  2. Mercury has been known to humans for at least 5,000 years.
  3. It is believed that Mercury’s core cooled off and was solidified long ago because of its small size before earth was formed.
  4. Mercury is only 1/3rd the size of Earth having a diameter of 4879 Km. It has no moon or rings.
  5. Mercury is the smallest planet in the solar system only slightly bigger than Earth’s moon. It’s smaller than both Saturn’s moon Titan and Jupiter’s moon Ganymede.
  6. The mass of Mercury is about 5.5% of that of earth.
  7. Mercury is the closest planet to Sun and hence, its surface temperature is very hot which can reach 450 degrees Celsius during the day.
  8. Unlike Earth, Mercury has little atmosphere and hence, it is not capable of trapping any heat from Sun resulting in temperature plunging to minus 170 degrees Celsius at night.
  9. The Mercurial atmosphere is so thin that it is virtually non-existent. In fact, Mercury’s atmosphere is closer to a true vacuum than any man made vacuum ever created.
  10. Mercury’s extremely thin atmosphere consists of 42% oxygen , 29% sodium, 22% hydrogen , 6% helium and other trace amounts.
  11. Because of the weak gravitation of Mercury (approximately 38% of the Earth), the gases from its atmosphere constantly escapes to outer space. However, solar winds keep replenishing the atmosphere.
  12. The inner metallic core of Mercury is iron while the external shell is silicate.
  13. The temperature swing of Mercury is the highest in entire Solar System. During a single day, the temperature of Mercury can swing more than 600 degrees Celsius.
  14. In spite of high temperatures , Mercury is still believed to have water ice on it around the South and the North Pole deep inside the craters as these areas always remain in shadow and are always cold.
  15. Because Mercury has little atmosphere, asteroids approaching the planet hit it without any restriction forming big craters. Mercury has more craters and impact marks that any other planet. Any crater larger than 250 kilometres in diameter is referred to as a Basin.
  16. One such crater is known as Caloris Basin that was created some 4 billion years ago by an asteroid impact.The asteroid is believed to have been around 100 kilometers wide and is thought to have hit Mercury with a force equal to that generated by 1 trillion bombs of 1 megaton each. Caloris basin is roughly 1,550 kilometers or 960 miles wide.
  17. Mercury is the second most densest planet in our Solar System after the Earth. It has a metallic core spanning between 3,600 and 3,800 kilometers.
  18. The diameter of the metallic core is about 75% of the planet’s diameter. The outer shell of Mercury on the other hand is merely 500 to 600 kilometers.
  19. Mariner 10, the first spacecraft to visit Mercury discovered that Mercury had its own magnetic field. It was previously believed that only planets that have molten core and spin rapidly can have magnetic fields.
  20. Amazingly Mercury completes one rotation in 59 days i.e. It’s day is 59 earth days long.
  21. The strength of the magnetic pull of Mercury is just 1% of that of Earth. However, it is interesting to note that the magnetic field of Mercury is pretty active. Magnetic field produced by solar wind often touches Mercury’s magnetic field producing very powerful magnetic tornadoes. These tornadoes are responsible for sending gushes of hot plasma solar wind to Mercury’s surface. Solar wind has streams of charged particles ejected from the Sun.
  22. Mercury’s crust is full of lobe shaped cliffs. These can run for several hundred miles on surface and soar up to a mile high in air.
  23. Mercury completes one complete revolution around our Sun in 88 days i.e. One year on Mercury is equal to 88 earth days.
  24. Mercury travels around the sun at a speed of 180,000 kilometers per hour  or 112,000 miles per hour making it the fastest planet in entire Solar System.
  25. The orbit of Mercury is elliptical in shape. The closest the planet gets to the Sun is 47 million kilometers or 29 million miles. This closest point is known as Perihelion. The greatest distance of Mercury from the Sun during one complete revolution is 70 million kilometers or 43 million miles. The farthest point is known as Aphelion.
  26. When Mercury reaches its closest point to Sun, the Sun will appear at least 3 times bigger there than what it actually appears from Earth.
  27. During sunrise, the Sun appears to rise and then set for some time and then again rise. During sunset, the Sun will appear to set and then rise for a brief time period and then again set. This happens because of the elliptical orbit of Mercury and also because of the slow rotation speed of the planet on it’s axis.
  28. 13 times in every 100 years, Mercury can be seen traveling across Sun’s face which can be seen directly from Earth.
  29. Mercury’s eccentric orbit relative to the other planets, and its close distance to the Sun, helped scientists confirm Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
  30. Only two spacecraft have ever visited Mercury as due to it’s proximity to the Sun it’s a difficult planet to visit. During 1974 and 1975 Mariner 10 flew by Mercury 3 times, mapping just under half of the planet’s surface. In August 2004, the Messenger probe was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to Mercury. It is orbiting Mercury since 2011 and it has beamed back some amazing images of the closest planet to the sun. Scientists have used those images to create the first-ever complete map of Mercury’s surface.

By Amazing Facts 4U Team

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