Mercury is the closest to the sun, and the first planet in our solar system; however it is not that near as you might think. There are approximately 58 million kilometers between it and the sun. Being closest to the sun, its surface reflects sunlight, just like our moon. Without wasting time, let’s move on to read the most amazing mercury facts for kids.
Mercury Facts For Kids
Being closest to the sun, the planet is constantly bombarded with sunlight, radiation and UV rays, and unless aliens can withstand a scorching heat of 400 degrees Celsius, it’s fairly certain, there is no life on the planet. Its surface is covered with craters and is completely dry. Interestingly, Mercury is not the hottest planet of them all. No, Venus beats Mercury in the hotness department, even though it is much further away from the sun.
Ice on Mercury:
Wai-what?! Ice? Yes, you read right. Scientists believe that even though, it has the sun as it’s neighbor, Mercury actually might have ice in it. It is believed that some regions of Mercury were never heated by the sun—This section is mainly thought to be around it’s pole which have eternally been in shadow from the Sun’s heat. Mercury is one unique planet, right?
Now, this bad boy, had his first picture taken in 1974-1965. NASA’s spacecraft, The Mariner 10, was close enough to the planet to take some clear pictures.
You can see Mercury in the sky:
Even though mercury is 77 million km away from the earth, you can actually view it without a telescope. However, this does not mean you can see the planet just by looking up in the sky. Planets, unlike stars, do not shine. Mercury can be seen near the western horizon at sunrise or sunset. Surprisingly, Mercury is just one of the 5 planets that can be viewed without any specialized equipment. Other planets include: Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
If there was life on Mercury, people on it would be much younger:
A day is equal to one full rotation of a particular planet. Now, scientists found that one full day on Mercury are equal to 58 days on Earth!
NASA’s latest mission to Mercury
NASA’s latest mission to Mercury is code named the Messenger. The Messenger spacecraft entered Mercury’s orbit back in March 2011. It regularly photographs pictures of the surface and sends them to NASA Headquarters. Mercury’s full pictures weren’t seen before 2011, the first mission to Mercury only captured half of the planet, because it ran out of fuel.
Mercury Crossing the sun
Once in every ten or fifteen years, Mercury crosses the sun. At this special point its orbit comes between the Sun and the Earth. This event known as a transit and can be observed in the open sky; however, precautions must be taken. When watching any event near the Sun, a proper lens filter must be used to protect the sight from harmful rays. You’ll see Mercury as a small, black dot passing the sun. You must never try to look directly at the Sun without a filter.
That is a lot of useful information about Mercury. But, knowledge is a gift that grows more after sharing. Do tell these facts to others.