Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Planet Mercury

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: IE


Context: NASA recently shared a captivating image of Mercury, the solar system’s smallest planet, on Instagram.

  • The picture, taken by MESSENGER, the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury, showcases the planet’s tan and blue hues, along with its cratered surface.


About Mercury:

  • NASA provided intriguing details about Mercury, emphasizing its diminutive size, its proximity to the Sun (about 36 million miles or 58 million km away), and its incredible speed, travelling at nearly 29 miles (47 km) per second, resulting in a year on Mercury being just 88 Earth days.
  • The post also highlighted Mercury’s unique characteristics, such as its thin exosphere consisting of elements like oxygen, sodium, hydrogen, helium, and potassium.
  • Due to its lack of atmosphere and proximity to the Sun, the planet experiences extreme temperature fluctuations, ranging from a scorching 800ºF (430ºC) during the day to a frigid -290 ºF (-180 ºC) at night.
  • Additionally, Mercury possesses a relatively weak magnetic field, only 1% as strong as Earth’s, which interacts with solar winds to create magnetic tornados across the planet’s surface.