MERCURY


  • NAME
    Means messenger to the gods (Greek: Hermes)

  • ABOUT MERCURY
    Mercury is the closest planet to the sun. It is also the
    second smallest planet (Pluto being smallest). It was
    visited in 1974-75 three times by the Mariner 10 spacecraft.
    However, it didn't map the whole planet so some of it's
    surface is still a mystery. It's appearance is much like our
    own moon. It is a heavily cratered world with a negligible
    atmosphere.

  • DISCOVERY DATE
    Antiquity

  • MOONS
    None

  • OBSERVING-NAKED EYE
    Planet is difficult to observe. Being the innermost planet, it
    doesn't stray far from the sun. It is rarely seen in a dark sky.

  • OBSERVING-TELESCOPE
    Not much can be seen through a telescope. The phases of
    the planet can be seen in a small telescope though. (Both
    inner planets, Mercury and Venus, show phases like our
    moon). Trying to see any surface detail requires the
    perseverance of a real TN (Telescope Nut).


Image of Mercury from Mariner 10 showing it's southwestern
quadrant. Notice the similar appearance to our moon. It's
internally quite different though.


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