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Transcript of Mercury
How much do I weigh?
If you moved to Mercury you would not weigh as much as you do on Earth. Mercury is smaller, and so has less gravity. If you weigh 100kg on Earth, you would weigh about 37kg on Mercury.
How old am I?
A year in Mercury is just 88 days long.
One day on Mercury lasts the equivalent of 176 Earth days.
Mercury is made of
(O2), sodium (Na), hydrogen (H2), helium (He), and potassium (K)
A sun tan?
Standing on Mercury's surface at its closest point to the sun, the sun would appear more than three times larger than it does on Earth.
Mercury is a rocky planet, also known as a terrestrial planet. Mercury has a solid, cratered surface, much like Earth's moon. Scientists believe that Mercury is a large metal ball of iron.
Only two spacecrafts have visited this rocky planet. Mariner 10 in 1974 and 1975 and MESSENGER, which flew past Mercury three times in 2011.
Mercury has no moons because it is too close to the Sun. The Sun is so huge that its strong gravity would suck a moon away in a second!
the smallest and closest planet to the Sun of the eight planets in the Solar System.
58 million km from the sun
only slightly larger than the Earth's moon
One day on Mercury, the time it takes for Mercury to rotate or spin once takes 59 earth days. Mercury makes a complete orbit around the sun, a year in Mercury time in just 88 Earth days. That means there are fewer than two days in a year!
Dead or alive?
There has not been any activity on Mercury for billions of years so it is sometimes referred to as the dead planet.
Mercury has lots of craters that have been created by countless encounters with asteroids and comets. There is no atmosphere so there is no weather to erode the craters.
Over 4 billion years ago a larger crater crashed into Mercury and formed the Carolis Basin. It is one of the largest in the solar system. It has a diameter of 1,550km. The interior of the basin is filled with high ridges and surrounded by mountains as high as 3km.
Thirteen times every one hundred years Mercury can be seen from Earth passing across the Sun. It is called a transit, the next one will occur on May 9, 2016
Mercurys orbit lies within Earth's orbit, and close to the Sun you can see Mercury in the sky just before the Sun rises or just after the Sun sets. Mercury is also referred to as the morning star and evening star.
Sandals and a hat!
Mercury is named for the Roman messenger to the gods. He was the god of all travellers. Mercury had a winged hat and sandals so he could fly!
Mercury is shaped somewhat like an egg. Because of the shape sometimes its orbit moves close to the sun. Other planets do not do this.
Dead or Alive?
Mercury is considered a dead planet. This means that the surface shows no sign of volcanic activity or any other form of geological activity. I
What is a Planet?
We have nine planets in our Solar System. These planets circle around the Sun, this is called orbits.
Our Solar System also contains comets, Moons, dust, gas and some minor planets.
The Solar System is made up into two parts.
The Inner Solar System which has Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. These are closest to the Sun and are called the terrestrial planets because they have very solid rocky surfaces.
The Outer Solar System is made up of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune and sometimes called the gas giants.
Because it has almost no atmosphere to retain heat, Mercury's surface experiences the greatest temperature variation of all the planets.
Daytime temperatures can reach 427 degrees celsius and drop to -173 degrees celsius. It is unlikely life as we know it could survive on this planet.
Three important pieces of information about Mercury
Mercury has almost no atmosphere to retain heat and regulate the temperature and has biggest temperature variation of all the planets. Mercury is too small and not enough gravity to hold onto any atmosphere. At night the temperature can be as cold as −173 °C to 427 °C during the day. It would be very difficult for life to exist on this planet such as humans. It takes a very long time for Mercury to heat up and a very long time to cool down.
One day on Mercury, the time it would take for Mercury to rotate once, takes 59 Earth days. Mercury makes a complete orbit around the Sun, a year in Mercury time, in just 88 Earth days. That means there are fewer than two days in a year!
Mercury is the smallest and closest to the Sun of the eight planets in the Solar System.
1. Why is Mercury called the dead planet?
2. Why is Mercury quite different than any other planet?
3. Why is there such a big change in temperature on Mercury?
4. Why is Mercury the most heavily cratered plant?
5. What is the name of the basin?