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Lasha Seaton

on 11 March 2010

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Transcript of Mars

Mercury... When was it discovered and by Who? The Sumerians first saw the planet in the 3rd millenium B.C. Following the Sumerians was the Babylonian Empire. Records from the 7th century BC refer back to much earlier records which described observations of the planet. The Babylonians called the planet Nebu, after the messenger of the gods in their mythology. This is an interesting parallel to the later Greek mythology and reference to the innermost planet. The ancient Greeks had two names for the planet, Apollo visible in the morning and Hermes visible in the evening. They eventually came to understand that these were the same object, and it was even proposed this early in history that Mercury and Venus orbited the sun.

What is the atmosphere and structure like? So far, observations of Mercury from ground-based observers and the Mariner 10 spacecraft have not shown evidence of a significant atmosphere compared to other planets. Mariner 10 did observe a tiny amount of helium 1000 km above the surface, but this is probably caused by the solar wind and the breakdown of Mercury's crust. Sodium, potassium and oxygen have also been detected in Mercury's very weak atmosphere, but these elements can be lost when they react with the Sun and Mercury's magnetic field.Temperatures at the surface range between -300 and 800oF (hot enough for lead to melt). This large range in surface temperature is possible because Mercury is so close to the Sun (a year is only 88 Earth days long) and does not have sufficient atmosphere present to moderate the range in surface temperature.
Mercury has a radius of 2439 km (1524 mi), and the metallic iron-nickel core is believed to make up about 75% of this distance. Measurements of the planet's magnetic field made by Mariner 10 as it flew by the planet indicates that this core is likely to be hot and fluid. In contrast with the other terrestrial planets, the rest of the planet is probably made up of a solid rocky layer topped with a thin crust about 100 km thick. The surface of Mercury is covered with a variety of craters formed from the impact of meteorites billions of years ago and other features that reveal information about the evolution of the planet.
What moons does it have? Tell more! Mercury does not have any moons. Interesting Facts Mercury is the innermost and smallest planet in the Solar System.Mercury is a battered and baked planet just larger than Earth's moon. Evidence of heavy bombardment from the chaos of the formation of the solar system is left in the hundreds of craters and resulting lava flows on this small, barren planet. The largest crater is Beethoven at 643 km in diameter and is the largest in the solar system. The largest feature, Caloris Basin, is 1300 km in diameter and was probably caused by an impact from an object larger than 100 km in diameter. Some craters have ice in them even though the planet is so hot because the sun never reaches into the shadows due to the planet's tilt and orbit. With no atmosphere, there is a temperature difference of about 600 degrees between the coldest spots and hottest spots on the planet.

Mercury orbits the sun in about 88 Earth days but takes 58 Earth days to rotate once. On this planet a year takes a (Mercury) day and a half!

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