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7 Strange and Bizarre Facts About Planet Mercury: You Will be Shocked 🤯

7 Strange and Bizzare Facts About Planet Mercury

7 strange and bizarre facts about planet mercury: Our solar system’s innermost planet is pretty weird. Mercury, the smallest planet in comparison to the sun and just slightly larger than the moon.

The planet can be seen with the naked eye, and people have long known this. According to Universe Today, the planet was first mentioned by the Sumerians in the second millennium BC (between the years 2000 to 1001 BC), and it was known as the planet Nabu by the Babylonians. We refer to it by the name the Romans gave it in honour of their nimble messenger god Mercury. Galileo Galilei and Thomas Harriot, two astronomers, made the first use of the newly developed telescope to examine the planet in 1631, according to NASA Science.

The tiny planet has fascinated astronomers ever since NASA’s Mariner 10 spacecraft paid it a visit in 1974. It will no doubt continue to surprise us.

Here we explore some strange facts about the planet Mercury.

1. THE SOLAR SYSTEM’S LARGEST TEMPERATURE FLUCTUATIONS

THE SOLAR SYSTEM'S LARGEST TEMPERATURE FLUCTUATIONS
The Solar System’s Largest Temperature Fluctuations (Image Source: Space.com)

Mercury is the planet that is closest to the sun, however, despite this, Mercury’s surface can still be quite cold because it lacks a heat-trapping atmosphere. According to NASA, daytime temperatures can rise to a scorching 800 degrees Fahrenheit (430 degrees Celsius), while at night, they can plunge to as low as minus 290 F (minus 180 C). The biggest temperature swing experienced by any planet in the solar system, this variation equates to a change of nearly 1,100 F (600 C).

2. THE SOLAR SYSTEM’S SMALLEST PLANET

Mercury the solar system's smallest planet
Solar System’s Smallest Planet (Image Source: plaentforkids.org)

The smallest planet in the solar system is Mercury. The tiny planet is only slightly larger than Earth’s moon and has a diameter of roughly 3,030 miles (4,876 kilometres), or about as wide as the continental United States.

Mercury is smaller than the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, Titan and Ganymede respectively. Mercury has taken over the title of the smallest planet from Pluto, which was previously thought to be the smallest planet in the solar system after it was reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006.

3. A BIZARRE ORBIT

Planet Mercury's Bizarre Orbit
Mercury’s Bizarre Orbit (Image Source: Scienceman.com)

According to NASA, Mercury is the fastest planet in the solar system, travelling around the sun at a speed of about 29 miles (47 kilometres) per second every 88 Earth days. In addition to being extremely fast, Mercury’s orbit is also highly elliptical. The planet can be 42 million miles (70 million km) from the sun or as near to it as 29 million miles (47 million km).

Also Read: James Webb Space Telescope Mysterious Rings in New Telescope Photo | Astronomers Shock with this New Image JWST

4. SURFACE ICE LOCATED NEAR POLES

surface ice located near Mercury's poles
Surface Ice Located Near Mercury’s Poles (Image Source: nasa.gov)

Inside a few of Mercury’s craters, NASA’s MESSENGER probe found water ice in 2012. In 2017, it was established that Mercury’s north pole is covered in a lot more ice than was thought previously. When highly bright areas in the polar regions were discovered by Earth-based telescopes in the 1990s, the possibility of ice was first raised.

You might think it unusual and strange facts about Mercury could have any surface ice at all given its proximity to the sun. However, due to the planet’s extremely low axial tilt, the polar areas receive very little direct sunlight, and certain craters are continuously dark. Additionally, because Mercury lacks any kind of atmosphere, its temperatures vary greatly throughout the day and night.

5. ENORMOUS IRON CORE

Planet Mercury's Enormous Iron Core
Planet Mercury’s Enormous Iron Core (Image Source: astronomy.com)

Around 75% of the planet’s diameter, or 2,200–2,400 miles (3,600–3,800 km), is made up of Mercury’s massive metallic core. Mercury’s outer layer is only 300–400 miles (500–600 km) thick, to put things into perspective.

More iron is present in the enormous core than on any other planet in the solar system. Scientists are unsure of how it developed or why it is so impossibly big.

6. THE SOLAR SYSTEM’S THINNEST ATMOSPHERE

Mercury Has The Solar System's Thinnest Atmosphere
Mercury Has The Solar System’s Thinnest Atmosphere

The atmosphere of Mercury is the thinnest of any planet in our solar system. Since the atmosphere is so thin, the exosphere is another term for it used by scientists. According to NASA, oxygen, sodium, hydrogen, helium, and potassium make up the majority of Mercury’s exosphere.

Also Read: Internet Baffled with New Images of Jupiter from James Webb Space Telescope: NASA Releases Stunning New Images

7. WEIRD ‘TAILS’

Mercury's Weird 'tails'
Planet Mercury’s Weird ‘tails’ (Image Source: science.nasa.gov)

Researchers have found that Mercury contains comet-like jets of particles sloughing off its surface. Astrophotographers on Earth can capture these fascinating tails in long-exposure images.

The tails, according to scientists, are created when sodium in Mercury’s exosphere glows as a result of being energised by sunlight. According to a NASA Science article, sunlight can potentially break these molecules off Mercury’s surface and launch them into space.

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