It takes a total 1407.5 hours, or 58.646 Earth days, for Mercury to make a complete rotation on its axis. A day on Earth is only 23.934 hours long, which pales in comparison to Mercury's extremely long days. Mercury makes a full rotation around the sun in 88 Earth days, and it is the closest planet to the sun, which is a distance of 36 million miles.
Mercury has almost no atmosphere. The planet's small size means that its gravity is too weak to hold down a normal atmosphere. There is a very thin atmosphere around the planet. Mercury's thin atmosphere is constantly being "blown away" into space by the pressure of sunlight and by the solar wind. Gases are constantly being added to Mercury's atmosphere, too. That's why it still has any atmosphere at all - even though that atmosphere is really, really thin.
Temperatures on Mercury's surface can reach 800 degrees Fahrenheit (430 degrees Celsius). Because the planet has no atmosphere to retain that heat, nighttime temperatures on the surface can drop to -280 degrees Fahrenheit (-170 degrees Celsius).
Two spacecraft have visited the planet Mercury so far. The first was called Mariner 10. During 1974 and 1975. Mariner 10 flew by Mercury three times and mapped about half of the planet's surface. Mariner 10 also discovered Mercury's thin atmosphere and detected its magnetic field.
More recently, Messenger went into orbit around Mercury in 2011, and completed mapping of 100% of Mercury's surface in 2013. BepiColombo was planned for launch in 2015 and planned to enter orbit around Mercury in 2022.
Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun and due to its proximity it is not easily seen except during twilight. For every two orbits of the Sun, Mercury completes three rotations about its axis and up until 1965 it was thought that the same side of Mercury constantly faced the Sun. Thirteen times a century Mercury can be observed from the Earth passing across the face of the Sun in an event called a transit, the most resent occurred May 9th 2016.
I chose mercury cause i have never done a project on it and it had seemed to be an interesting planet to learn about. And getting to learn about a new planet is always intresting.
By: Natalie Vasquez
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Public - 9/27/16, 3:11 PM