Means messenger to the gods (Greek: Hermes)
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
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.
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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