Our Solar System consists of eight different planets which orbit the Sun. It was formed 4.6 billion years ago. But today, we will take a closer look at the kid facts about Mercury, the first planet in our solar system.
Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun. The distance from the Sun to Mercury is over 9 million miles. It’s the innermost and smallest planet in the Solar System with an equatorial radius of 2,439.7 km. Mercury is called the terrestrial planet because it’s an Earth-like planet which is made up of rocks and has a rough surface. Mercury has two geologically distinct plains. Just like this information, there are many interesting facts about Mercury that will help you understand more.
No one knows exactly who is credited with the discovery of Mercury. But the Romans have named it Mercury after their messenger God, the fastest God, and the one they prayed to for a successful business. There seems to be a fun tour as it moves faster all night and that moves back and forth in the air. This is called an elliptical orbit, it’s like an egg. Mercury lasts 88 days in the orbit of the sun and moves 50 kilometers per second faster than any other planets of the Solar System. Mercury takes 59 Earth days to rotate and hence, on Mercury, the solar day is equivalent to 175. 97 Earth days. Such a long day, isn’t it?
Have Humans visited Mercury?
No, they have not, Mercury has been visited by a spacecraft from Earth, at least twice. During 1974 – 1975, the first spacecraft that visited Mercury was called, “Mariner 10” and it mapped nearly half the surface. Like the Earth’s moon, there are a lot of craters from meteoroids and comets. Astronauts have found a huge number of craters which are also known as the Caloris Basin of about 960 miles (1,550 km) wide which ends in over 16,000 football fields on Earth. That’s a really big number. It was previously caused by asteroids hitting Mercury’s surface. The spacecraft have also observed some long cliffs, flat terrain, and volcanic damage. Mariner 10 has also revealed Mercury’s thin atmosphere and spotted its magnetic field as well.
Recently, NASA launched Messenger for the close observation of Mercury. Messenger orbits Mercury in 2011 and completes 100% mapping of Mercury’s surface area in 2013. This mission cleared the six key issues- the high density of Mercury, its geological history, it’s core structure, its magnetic field, the origin of tenuous atmosphere, and whether it has ice at its poles. Messenger has helped discover these kid facts about Mercury.
Can we see Mercury from Earth?
Mercury’s orbit is very close to the Sun. Hence, it can only be seen, either just before sunrise, or just after sunset. It can be easily seen when passing close to the face of the sun, every century. Mercury is generally white in appearance and because of its low altitude, it has a pinkish hue.
As it’s the closest to the Sun, it was regarded as the hottest planet; but in reality, the facts can be really surprising. It does not keep its warmth because it does not have a great atmosphere, so, instead, Venus is the hottest planet in the Solar System. During the day, Mercury prevails near the sun, but at night, the temperature is freezing. In the daytime, the temperature reaches 800 degrees Fahrenheit (430 degrees Celsius) and at night, it drops to -290 degrees Fahrenheit (-180 degrees Celsius).
It has an internal metal axis of 1,240 kilometers or about 80% of its radius. The researches that were carried out in 2007 were at the base of radar use, and it showed that the axis was partially liquid and had a strip that was 400 cm wide.
The atmosphere around Mercury is mainly composed of Oxygen (O²), Potassium (K), Sodium (Nª), and Helium (Na). One silly kid facts about Mercury is that Helium is referred to as a funny gas; this results in a sound that resembles Donald Duck that kids love very much, especially, when released from a party balloon. But it’s a dangerous gas and you can die if you breathe helium in excess.
Let’s read some quick facts about Mercury
- Mercury has no light or rings.
- The mass of Mercury is 330,104,000,000,000 billion kg which is 0.055 times Earth.
- Our weight on mercury is 38% of the weight on Earth
- It takes 176 Earth days to cover a single day on Mercury.
- One year on Mercury is equal to 88 days on Earth.
- The diameter of Mercury is 4,879 km which makes it the smallest planet.
- The equatorial circumference of Mercury is 15,329 km.
- No one knows who actually discovered Mercury.
A Tour through Kid Facts about Mercury
Here are some interesting and strange kid facts about Mercury:
For one year, Mercury has only 88 days.
One single day (from noon to noon) on Mercury equals 176 days on Earth while on a southern day (1 fixed-point rotation), 59 Earth days pass by. Mercury gets almost consoled by the Sun, and over time, it has slowed the rotation of the planet which almost corresponds to its orbit around the Sun. It has the highest orbital eccentricity towards Mercury, among all planets from the Sun and it ranges from 46 and 70 million kilometers.
Mercury, the smallest planet in the solar system.
Out of the five planets, Mercury can be viewed with the naked eye. Mercury is only 4,879 kilometers long, compared to 12,742 kilometers across the globe. Quick fact alert, Pluto is called a dwarf planet as mentioned in facts of Pluto for kids.
Mercury is the 2nd densest planet in the solar system.
Despite its size, Mercury is very dense. The density of each cubic centimeter is equal to 5.4 grams. It’s because of the heavy rocks and metals that are found on Mercury.
Mercury is named as Wrinkled Planet.
When the iron core of any planet is concentrated and chilled, the planet’s surface becomes wrinkled which is called “Lobate Scarps” or “Wrinkles.” These Wrinkles can be hundreds of miles long and a mile high. It has been observed that Mercury contains a lighter element, such as Sulphur which lowers the melting temperature of the surface.
Mercury has a molten core.
Scientists from NASA believe that Mercury’s solid iron core is molten. Generally, the interior of smaller planets cool down quickly but after many years of research, it has been found that the resulting solid core is quite different.
The second hottest planet in the Solar System.
Venus experiences the highest temperature from the Sun as mentioned in the facts of Venus for kids. The surface of the Sun facing Mercury measures the temperature of 427 degrees Celsius while on the alternate side, this can be as minimal as -173 degrees Celsius. This is because the planet has no air to control its temperature.
It’s the most cratered planet in the Solar System.
There are planets which can heal themselves through natural geological processes. The surface of Mercury is covered with craters. This occurs because of the numerous encounters with comets and asteroids. Scientists have named these craters after famous artists and writers. The craters are larger than 250km in diameters are named as a Basin. On Mercury, the Caloris Basin has been deemed as the largest impacted crater which is 1,550km in diameter. These kid facts about Mercury were discovered by the Mariner 10 in 1974.
Mercury is visited by only two spacecraft till now.
Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun; hence, it’s difficult to visit. Mariner 10 is the first spacecraft to visit Mercury during 1974-1975. During the visit, Mercury orbited the Mariner 10 three times which enabled it to map just half of Mercury’s surface. Again, in 2004, NASA launched Messenger from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It completed 100% mapping of Mercury’s surface area in 2013.
Mercury is named as the. Roman Messenger God:
There is no such data that can claim the actual date of Mercury’s discovery. But in 3,000 BC, Sumerians mention the Planet Mercury for the first time.
It has a sort of atmosphere.
Mercury’s gravity compared to the Earth is only 38%, which is less to control the atmosphere around Mercury. However, while avoiding space in gases, they are filled with dust due to the same solar winds, radioactive decay, and micro-microscopes simultaneously.
Of all the above-mentioned Kid facts about Mercury, there are few more interesting facts. Scientists have discovered that the famous Hubble Space Telescope can never be used to enquire facts about Mercury. This is because the planet is really close to the sun and the sun’s light can explode the mechanism of the telescope. As half of Mercury is never seen, there is a lot more to discover about Mercury as a planet.