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Table of Contents
Mercury is the most minor and nearest planet to the sun in the Solar System, and Mercury is just somewhat more prominent than the Moon. The sun would look more than three times as massive from the surface of Mercury as it does from Earth, and the light would be up to seven times brighter.
See the fact file below for more information on Mercury or alternatively, you can download our 27-page Mercury worksheet pack to utilize within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Mercury, the tiniest planet in our solar system and the closest to the sun, is slightly larger than Earth’s Moon. The sun would look more than three times as massive from the surface of Mercury as it does from Earth, and the sunlight would be up to seven times brighter.
- The surface temperatures of Mercury are both exceedingly hot and incredibly cold. Daytime temperatures can exceed 800°F (430°C) due to the planet’s proximity to the sun. Temperatures may drop to -290°F (-180°C) without an atmosphere to keep the heat.
- Despite its closeness to the Sun, Mercury is not the warmest planet in our solar system; that honor goes to Venus because of its dense atmosphere. On the other hand, Mercury is the quickest planet, flying around the sun every 88 Earth days.
NAMESAKE AND FORMATION
- Mercury is named after the fastest of the ancient Roman gods.
- It is named after the Roman deity Mercurius (Mercury), a god of trade, a messenger of the gods, a mediator between gods and humanity, and a counterpart to the Greek god Hermes.
- Mercury was created around 4.5 billion years ago when gravity drew whirling dust and gas together to form this tiny planet closest to the sun.
- Like the other terrestrial planets, Mercury has a central core, a rocky mantle, and a solid crust.
SIZE AND DISTANCE
- Mercury holds a radius of 1,516 miles (2,440 km), which is little more than one-third the breadth of Earth. Mercury would be approximately the size of a blueberry if Earth were the size of a nickel.
- Mercury is 0.4 astronomical units distant from the sun at an average of 36 million miles (58 million kilometers).
- It takes 3.2 minutes for sunlight to get from the sun to reach Mercury at this distance.
ORBIT AND ROTATION
- Mercury’s highly eccentric, egg-shaped orbit gets it as near the sun as 29 million miles (47 million km) and as distant as 43 million miles (70 million km).
- Mercury spans around the sun in 88 days, at about 29 miles (47 km) every second, quicker than any other planet.
- Mercury rotates slowly on its axis, rotating once every 59 Earth days. However, when Mercury travels the fastest in its elliptical orbit around the sun (and is nearest to it), each revolution does not coincide with dawn and sunset, as it does on most other planets.
- From some sections of the planet’s surface, the morning sun appeared to rise briefly, set, and rise again. At sunset, the same thing happens for different portions of the character. A day-night cycle on Mercury equals 176 Earth days or little more than two years on Mercury.
- Mercury’s axis of rotation is just 2 degrees inclined with the plane in its orbit around the sun. Because it rotates nearly completely upright, it does not undergo seasons like many other planets.
- Mercury lacks both moons and rings.
- After Earth, Mercury is the next densest planet. It has a massive metallic core with a radius of around 1,289 miles (2,074 km), accounting for approximately 85 % of the planet’s radius.
- It seems to be somewhat molten or liquid.
- Mercury’s outer shell is only around 400 kilometers (250 miles) thick, equivalent to Earth’s outer shell (the mantle and crust).
- Mercury’s surface is identical to that of Earth’s Moon, with many impact craters caused by impacts with meteoroids and comets. Mercury’s craters and features are for deceased artists, singers, or authors like Dr. Seuss and dance pioneer Alvin Ailey.
- Asteroid collisions on the planet’s surface caused huge impact basins such as Caloris (960 miles or 1,550 km in diameter) and Rachmaninoff (190 miles or 306 km in diameter). While there are enormous sections of flat land, there are also cliffs hundreds of miles long and a mile high. They climbed when Mercury’s interior cooled and constricted for billions of years since its formation.
- To the naked eye, the majority of Mercury’s surface appears grayish-brown. The brilliant streaks are known as “crater rays.” They originate when an asteroid or comet collides with the Earth. The enormous amount of energy unleashed in such a collision creates a large hole in the Earth and smashes a large amount of rock beneath the point of contact.
- Some crushed debris is ejected far from the crater, which falls to the surface and forms rays. Because finely crushed rock particles are more reflective than big chunks, the rays appear brighter. The space environment, which includes dust hits and solar-wind particles, causes the beams to darken with time.
- The temperatures on Mercury are relatively high. Surface temperatures can reach 800 ° F during the day (430 degrees Celsius). Because there is no atmosphere to keep the heat in, night temperatures on the planet’s surface can exceed minus 290 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 180 degrees Celsius).
- Mercury may hold water ice inside deep craters near its north and south poles, but only in permanently shadowed locations. Despite the scorching temperatures on sunny portions of the Earth, it might be cold enough in those shadows to keep water ice frozen.
- Mercury lacks an atmosphere and has a thin exosphere composed of atoms blown off the ground by solar wind and meteoroids.
- Mercury’s exosphere primarily comprises oxygen, sodium, hydrogen, helium, and potassium.
- Mercury’s magnetic field is tilted concerning the planet’s equator.
- Although Mercury’s magnetic field at the ground is just 1% as powerful as Earth’s, it combines with the solar wind’s magnetic field to generate violent magnetic tornadoes that funnel the solar wind’s fast, burning plasma straight to the planet’s surface.
- When the ions hit the surface, they tear off neutrally charged atoms and send them on a high-altitude loop.
POTENTIAL FOR LIFE
- Mercury’s environment is unsuitable for the way we know it.
- This planet’s temperatures and solar radiation are likely too severe for creatures to adapt.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Mercury across 27 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Mercury worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Mercury, which is the most minor and nearest planet to the sun in the Solar System. In Roman mythology, Mercury is the god of communication, commerce, travel and thievery.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Mercury Facts
- Think Out of the Box
- True or False
- The Swift Planet!
- Choose Wisely
- Deep to the Core!
- Matchy Matchy!
- High Five Craters
- Hunting Time!
- Discovery Time
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Mercury?
Mercury, the tiniest planet in our solar system and the closest to the sun, is slightly larger than Earth’s Moon. The sun would look more than three times as massive from the surface of Mercury as it does from Earth, and the sunlight would be up to seven times brighter.
How did Mercury get its name?
It is named after the Roman deity Mercurius (Mercury), a god of trade, a messenger of the gods, a mediator between gods and humanity, and a counterpart to the Greek god Hermes.
Why does Mercury have so many crater impacts and scars?
Mercury’s surface is identical to that of Earth’s Moon, with many impact craters caused by impacts with meteoroids and comets.
Does Mercury have moons and rings?
Mercury lacks both moons and rings.
Can humans live on Mercury?
This planet’s temperatures and solar radiation are likely too severe for creatures to adapt.
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Link will appear as Mercury Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, June 1, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.