12th Grade Earth Science Report
Mercury is a very mysterious but interesting planet, though some may consider it not an important planet at all, it is very different, and its uniqueness sets it apart from others. Mercury is the second smallest planet and is closest to the sun in the solar system. Mercury was named by the Romans the ‘Fleet Footed gods because it moved faster than any other planet. It was said to been discovered in 1610 by an Italian astronomer named Galileo Galilei, them later been said that Mercury revolves around the sun by Giovanni Zupus in 1639. Mercury being about 40% smaller than the earth’s diameter, but bigger than the moon actually looks similar to the moon, and is compared to earth occasionally. Mercury with a mass of 3.303 (kg), and a density of 5.42 is similar in relative to earths density and mass. Most of Mercury is made of up an iron core, with a thin mantle and thin crust, which gives it a magnetic field of 1% of earths. These are reason are that it occupies about 50% volume and a 70% mass making have a very large iron core. This makes Mercury a main difference that sets it apart from the moon and the earth. Like the moon Mercury has what is called craters dotted on its surface, its rolling dust covered hills have been eroded by the bombardment of meteorites. Most planets in the solar system have an atmosphere of elements that protect its surface. When meteor rocks or comets hit a planets atmosphere they are instantly destroyed, because they have come in contact with that planets atmosphere. Unlike other planets Mercury doesn’t have much of any elements found in its atmosphere that act as decomposers when a meteorite comes its way, instead those meteorites are able to break through and hit the planet mercury head on. Thus causing a bumpy and hilly surface (craters), elements found on the planet Mercury are
- 56% Oxygen
- 35% Sodium
- 8% Helium
- 19% Potassium & Hydrogen
Other elements found in Mercury are Argon, Luz, Water, Xenon, Krypton, and Neon.
A detail that is very mysterious about the planet Mercury is that though it is closets to the sun its sky is very dark. Scientist give a reason for this saying that it has no atmosphere to cause scattering light. In regards to Mercury temperature the planet has two sides, dark and light, hot and cold. Scientist believed that the planet Mercury had a tidally locked side, but that proved to be wrong, because the dark side was to warm. The planet Mercury has a very slow rotational orbit around the sun. The planet Mercury rotates very slowly in its orbit. The planets rotation causes one day to last about 59 days, so during the day the temperature rises to a scorching 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Enabling it to be able to melt iron and, being hotter than any planet other than Venus. But during the night the temperatures on Mercury drop to a freezing -180 Celsius. Scientist speculate that the planet Mercury rotation could have been faster a fast as 8 hours, but over millions of years it slowed, because it was despuned by solar tides.
The planet Mercury is very difficult to study from earth, because it is so close to the sun. Mercury can only be looked at during sun rise or sunset through a telescope, because it is impossible to see during the day. The information given from Mercury and photos taken are obtained mostly from the space craft Mariner 10. This spacecraft has flown pass the Planet Mercury 3 times in the late 1970’s. So there are so many interesting facts that make the planet Mercury what it is today.