The time interval between successive images is about seven minutes. [155], In June 1962, Soviet scientists at the Institute of Radio-engineering and Electronics of the USSR Academy of Sciences, led by Vladimir Kotelnikov, became the first to bounce a radar signal off Mercury and receive it, starting radar observations of the planet. Advanced Search. [103], For many years it was thought that Mercury was synchronously tidally locked with the Sun, rotating once for each orbit and always keeping the same face directed towards the Sun, in the same way that the same side of the Moon always faces Earth. [102] The two hottest places on the equator are therefore at longitudes 0° W and 180° W, and the coolest points on the equator are at longitudes 90° W and 270° W. However, the MESSENGER project uses an east-positive convention. PLANETARY DATA Planet Approx. [113] In the early 20th century, Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity provided the explanation for the observed precession, by formalizing gravitation as being mediated by the curvature of spacetime. The effect appears as a gyration, or precession, of Mercury’s orbit around the Sun. [176][177], On March 24, 1975, just eight days after its final close approach, Mariner 10 ran out of fuel. Instead of slowing to a state of synchronous rotation, as has happened to many planetary satellites, including Earth’s Moon, Mercury became trapped at the 58.6-day rotation rate. "Revolution" is motion around a centre that is external to the body, usually in orbit, as in "Earth takes a year for each revolution around the Sun." Viewed from low latitudes and at the right times of year, the ecliptic intersects the horizon at a steep angle. High-quality gravity field data are significant to refine the physical characterization of Mercury in planetary exploration missions. [93] This is because approximately four Earth days before perihelion, Mercury's angular orbital velocity equals its angular rotational velocity so that the Sun's apparent motion ceases; closer to perihelion, Mercury's angular orbital velocity then exceeds the angular rotational velocity. With a radius of about 2,440 km (1,516 miles), Mercury is the smallest major planet, smaller even than Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede, or Saturn’s largest moon, … This prolonged exposure to the Sun at its brightest makes these two points the hottest places on Mercury. 2 the semi-major axis, and Planetary Manifestation Activator™- Mercury. MESSENGER’s voyage to Mercury surpassed expectations and ended with its descent and impact onto the surface on April 30, 2015. However, with noticeable eccentricity, like that of Mercury's orbit, the tidal force has a maximum at perihelion and therefore stabilizes resonances, like 3:2, enforcing that the planet points its axis of least inertia roughly at the Sun when passing through perihelion. Mercury MESSENGER Global DEM 665m v2. the orbital period. The Planetary Data System (PDS) is a long-term archive of digital data products returned from NASA's planetary missions, and from other kinds of flight and ground-based data acquisitions, including laboratory experiments. The MERTIS and PHEBUS instruments are located at the radiator to provide their calibration field of view and rotational field of view, respectively. The next transit of Mercury will occur in 2019. In addition to continued observations and mapping of Mercury, MESSENGER observed the 2012 solar maximum. [14] This exosphere is not stable—atoms are continuously lost and replenished from a variety of sources. It takes about 116 days for successive elongations—i.e., for Mercury to return to the same point relative to the Sun—in the morning or evening sky. Image of Mercury. [119], Mercury can, like several other planets and the brightest stars, be seen during a total solar eclipse.[120]. [146][147] In the 12th century, Ibn Bajjah observed "two planets as black spots on the face of the Sun", which was later suggested as the transit of Mercury and/or Venus by the Maragha astronomer Qotb al-Din Shirazi in the 13th century. Rotation Period Approx. Planetary data for Mercury *Time required for the planet to return to the same position in the sky relative to the Sun as seen from Earth. Some four and a half decades after NASA’s Mariner 10 spacecraft sped by Mercury, a group of planetary scientists is now talking about landing on … The payload components are mounted on the nadir side of the spacecraft, with certain instruments or sensors located directly at the main radiator, to achieve low detector temperatures. [170], The first spacecraft to visit Mercury was NASA's Mariner 10 (1974–1975). Learn about the length of both a year and a day on Mercury. [152], The difficulties inherent in observing Mercury mean that it has been far less studied than the other planets. Mercury’s orbital motion has played an important role in the development and testing of theories of the nature of gravity because it is perturbed by the gravitational pull of the Sun and the other planets. This contributes to the space weathering of the planet's surface. Product Information: Using the Integrated Software for Imagers and Spectrometers (ISIS3) and observations from Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) narrow-angle camera (NAC) and multispectral wide-angle camera (WAC), we derived a global digital elevation model (DEM) of Mercury. Mercury in community-minded Aquarius ? {\displaystyle T} How do planetary scientists analyze and interpret data from laboratory, telescopic, and spacecraft observations of planetary surfaces? [84] Observations taken by the Mariner 10 spacecraft detected this low energy plasma in the magnetosphere of the planet's nightside. [140][141][142] Hindu mythology used the name Budha for Mercury, and this god was thought to preside over Wednesday. [108], Numerical simulations show that a future secular orbital resonant perihelion interaction with Jupiter may cause the eccentricity of Mercury's orbit to increase to the point where there is a 1% chance that the planet will collide with Venus within the next five billion years. Mercury’s placement in your chart has something to say about this. Surface temperatures drop to about 90 K (−300 °F, −180 °C) during Mercury’s long nights before sunrise. "Rotation" is the turning of a body about an axis that passes through the body, as in "Earth rotates once a day." In developing subsequent missions to Mercury, such as the U.S. Messenger spacecraft launched in 2004, spaceflight engineers calculated complex routes, making use of gravity assists (see spaceflight: Planetary flights) from repeated flybys of Venus and Mercury over the course of several years. Mercury's higher velocity when it is near perihelion is clear from the greater distance it covers in each 5-day interval. A trip to Mercury requires more rocket fuel than that required to escape the Solar System completely. Venus – Venus’ thick atmosphere makes it the hottest planet in our solar system. T [153] In the 1880s, Giovanni Schiaparelli mapped the planet more accurately, and suggested that Mercury's rotational period was 88 days, the same as its orbital period due to tidal locking. The global topographic model was among three new products released today by the Planetary Data System (PDS), an organization that archives and distributes all of NASA's planetary mission data. Images and GIS Data. Mercury is technically brightest as seen from Earth when it is at a full phase. [123][124] At greatest western elongation, Mercury rises at its earliest before sunrise, and at greatest eastern elongation, it sets at its latest after sunset.[125]. During that time, the spacecraft orbit pericenter was always over the northern hemisphere. [68] Water ice strongly reflects radar, and observations by the 70-meter Goldstone Solar System Radar and the VLA in the early 1990s revealed that there are patches of high radar reflection near the poles. According to measurements taken by Mariner 10, it is about 1.1% the strength of Earth's. Mercury is one of the eight planets that orbit, or travel around, the sun in the solar system. Due to Mercury's 3:2 spin-orbit resonance, a solar day (the length between two meridian transits of the Sun) lasts about 176 Earth days. on autumn evenings). [81], During its second flyby of the planet on October 6, 2008, MESSENGER discovered that Mercury's magnetic field can be extremely "leaky". Distance from Sun (millions of km) Approx. The probe finished a one-year mapping mission,[181] and then entered a one-year extended mission into 2013. However, when this area was first visited, by Mariner 10, this zero meridian was in darkness, so it was impossible to select a feature on the surface to define the exact position of the meridian. Nearly two-thirds of Mercury’s mass is contained in its largely iron core, which extends from the planet’s centre to a radius of about 2,100 km (1,300 miles), or about 85 percent of the way to its surface. 'It's Not Completely Nuts' - A new explanation for the rocky world's jumbled landscape opens a possibility that it could have had ingredients for habitability", "The Chaotic Terrains of Mercury Reveal a History of Planetary Volatile Retention and Loss in the Innermost Solar System", "NASA Reference Publication 1349; Venus: Twelve year planetary ephemeris, 1995–2006", "NASA spacecraft now circling Mercury – a first", "MESSENGER: Mercury and Ancient Cultures", "Modification of the Earlier Indian Planetary Theory by the Kerala Astronomers (c. 1500 AD) and the Implied Heliocentric Picture of Planetary Motion", "Mercury Passes in Front of the Sun, as Seen From Mars", "MESSENGER to test theory of shrinking Mercury", "MESSENGER Engine Burn Puts Spacecraft on Track for Venus", "Countdown to MESSENGER's Closest Approach with Mercury", "MESSENGER Gains Critical Gravity Assist for Mercury Orbital Observations", "NASA extends spacecraft's Mercury mission", "NASA Mercury Probe Trying to Survive for Another Month", "NASA's Messenger Mission Is Set to Crash Into Mercury", "Messenger's Collision Course With Mercury", "ESA gives go-ahead to build BepiColombo",, Astronomical objects known since antiquity, CS1 maint: DOI inactive as of November 2020, Articles containing Ancient Greek (to 1453)-language text, Wikipedia indefinitely semi-protected pages, Wikipedia indefinitely move-protected pages, Short description is different from Wikidata, Pages using multiple image with auto scaled images, Articles containing Chinese-language text, Pages using Sister project links with wikidata mismatch, Pages using Sister project links with default search, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 20 December 2020, at 00:55. Its nearness to the horizon also means that Mercury is always seen through more of Earth’s turbulent atmosphere, which blurs the view. m−2). For example, essentially because Mercury is closer to the Sun than Venus, Mercury spends more time in proximity to Earth; it could, therefore, be said that Mercury is the planet that is 'closest to Earth when averaged over time'. - planetarypy/planetary_test_data [149]), In India, the Kerala school astronomer Nilakantha Somayaji in the 15th century developed a partially heliocentric planetary model in which Mercury orbits the Sun, which in turn orbits Earth, similar to the Tychonic system later proposed by Tycho Brahe in the late 16th century. Ground-based telescope observations of Mercury reveal only an illuminated partial disk with limited detail. It takes 87.969 Earth days to complete an orbit. This method bypasses the limitation of twilight observing when the ecliptic is located at a low elevation (e.g. It travels around the sun at a faster speed than any other planet. It is the closest planet to the Sun, but it’s actually not the hottest. [136], The Greco-Egyptian[137] astronomer Ptolemy wrote about the possibility of planetary transits across the face of the Sun in his work Planetary Hypotheses. Distance from Sun (millions of km) Approx. Until Earth-based radar observations proved otherwise in the 1960s, astronomers had long believed that to be the case, which would follow if Mercury’s rotation were synchronous—that is, if its rotation period were the same as its 88-day revolution period. Revolution Period Approx. [79] In 2008, magnesium was discovered by MESSENGER. [183], The mission was designed to clear up six key issues: Mercury's high density, its geological history, the nature of its magnetic field, the structure of its core, whether it has ice at its poles, and where its tenuous atmosphere comes from. Although Mercury is farthest from Earth when it is full, the greater illuminated area that is visible and the opposition brightness surge more than compensates for the distance. Maximum temperature occurs when the Sun is at an angle of about 25 degrees past noon due to diurnal temperature lag, at 0.4 Mercury days and 0.8 Mercury years past sunrise. Data from the Magnetometer (MAG) and the Fast Imaging Plasma Spectrometer (FIPS) allow us to investigate the statistical properties of planetary ions ( Na + ) in the presence of Kelvin‐Helmholtz (KH) waves at the … [104], The rare 3:2 resonant tidal locking is stabilized by the variance of the tidal force along Mercury's eccentric orbit, acting on a permanent dipole component of Mercury's mass distribution. The Sun's total angular displacement during its apparent retrograde motion as seen from the surface of Mercury is ~1.23°, while the Sun's angular diameter when the apparent retrograde motion begins and ends is ~1.71°, increasing to ~1.73° at perihelion (midway through the retrograde motion). Mercury attains inferior conjunction (nearest approach to Earth) every 116 Earth days on average,[3] but this interval can range from 105 days to 129 days due to the planet's eccentric orbit. 24 [134] The Romans named the planet after the swift-footed Roman messenger god, Mercury (Latin Mercurius), which they equated with the Greek Hermes, because it moves across the sky faster than any other planet. [188], The European Space Agency and the Japanese Space Agency developed and launched a joint mission called BepiColombo, which will orbit Mercury with two probes: one to map the planet and the other to study its magnetosphere. 2 [67], Although the daylight temperature at the surface of Mercury is generally extremely high, observations strongly suggest that ice (frozen water) exists on Mercury. [138], In ancient China, Mercury was known as "the Hour Star" (Chen-xing 辰星). Four Earth days after perihelion, the Sun's normal apparent motion resumes. The cruise to Mercury lasts 7 years and consists of a mixture of planetary flybys, electric propulsion arcs, and coast arcs. Orbital Period: 87.969257 days: Mass: 0.05527 M E: Equatorial Radius: 0.3826 R E: Rotational Inclination: 0.1° Rotational Period: 58.6462 days: Surface Temperature: PLANETARY DATA Planet Approx. These lines will then build up into a cool pattern over 40 earth years of orbital cycles. In other words, the orbits of the two planets approach each other most closely. [85][86] This dynamo effect would result from the circulation of the planet's iron-rich liquid core. T From the perspective of the warm poles, the Sun is already low on the horizon and about to set when it grows the brightest and performs its brief course reversal. They provided the first views that resolved surface features on the parts of Mercury that were not imaged in the Mariner 10 mission. Mercury presumably had spun faster when it was forming, but it was slowed by tidal forces. This made close observation of both sides of the planet impossible,[173] and resulted in the mapping of less than 45% of the planet's surface. is the orbital eccentricity, Mercury Data Average distance from the Sun: 0.39 x Earth distance Orbital period: 87.9 days Diameter: 0.38 x Earth diameter Mass: 0.055 x Earth mass Rotation period: 58.6 days Average density: 5.43 g/cm 3 Composition: rocky (including both rock and metal) Try to win a Planetary Society Venn Diagram tee and a signed copy of Emily Lakdawalla’s book, The Design and Engineering of Curiosity, by answering this question: What was the first human-made object to hit another world besides Earth? Mercury has an orbital speed of 48 km/s (30 mi/s), whereas Earth's orbital speed is 30 km/s (19 mi/s). Earth – The only planet in our solar system with liquid water on the surface. References: MESSENGER Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) Experiment Data Record (EDR) Software Interface Specification (SIS) document, The Johns Hopkins University, APL, V2T, Jun. MESSENGER found high proportions of calcium, helium, hydroxide, magnesium, oxygen, potassium, silicon and sodium. Davies, M. E., S. E. Dwornik, D. E. Gault, and R. G. Strom, NASA Atlas of Mercury, NASA Scientific and Technical Information Office, 1978. Mercury's surface is more heterogeneous than either Mars 's or the Moon 's, both of which contain significant stretches of similar geology, such as maria and plateaus. He suggested, among possible explanations, that another planet (or perhaps instead a series of smaller 'corpuscules') might exist in an orbit even closer to the Sun than that of Mercury, to account for this perturbation. [24] A similar effect would have occurred if Mercury had been in synchronous rotation: the alternating gain and loss of rotation over revolution would have caused a libration of 23.65° in longitude.[94]. Mercury can come as near as 82.2 gigametres (0.549 astronomical units; 51.1 million miles) to Earth, and that is slowly declining: The next approach to within 82.1 Gm (51.0 million miles) is in 2679, and to within 82.0 Gm (51.0 million miles) in 4487, but it will not be closer to Earth than 80 Gm (50 million miles) until 28,622. It is "new" at inferior conjunction and "full" at superior conjunction. The probe successfully entered an elliptical orbit around the planet on March 18, 2011. Mercury is one of the eight planets that orbit, or travel around, the sun in the solar system. [128], Because the shift of 0.15 revolutions in a year makes up a seven-year cycle (0.15 × 7 ≈ 1.0), in the seventh year Mercury follows almost exactly (earlier by 7 days) the sequence of phenomena it showed seven years before. MERCURY VENUS EARTH MOON MARS JUPITER SATURN URANUS NEPTUNE PLUTO : Mass (10 24 kg) 0.330: 4.87: 5.97: 0.073: 0.642: 1898: 568: 86.8: 102: 0.0146: Diameter (km) 4879: 12,104: 12,756: 3475: 6792: 142,984: 120,536: 51,118: 49,528: 2370: Density (kg/m 3) 5427: 5243: 5514: 3340: 3933: 1326: 687: 1271: 1638: 2095: Gravity (m/s 2) 3.7: 8.9: 9.8: 1.6: 3.7: 23.1: 9.0: 8.7: … Mercury is the smallest planet in our solar system. [112], The perihelion precession of Mercury is 5,600 arcseconds (1.5556°) per century relative to Earth, or 574.10±0.65 arcseconds per century[113] relative to the inertial ICRF. [151] The next occultation of Mercury by Venus will be on December 3, 2133. [98][99][d], The longitude convention for Mercury puts the zero of longitude at one of the two hottest points on the surface, as described above. The data revealed that the planet's magnetic field is much like Earth's, which deflects the solar wind around the planet. [90], Mercury's axial tilt is almost zero,[91] with the best measured value as low as 0.027 degrees. Solar System → Local Interstellar Cloud → Local Bubble → Gould Belt → Orion Arm → Milky Way → Milky Way subgroup → Local Group → Local Sheet → Virgo Supercluster → Laniakea Supercluster → Observable universe → UniverseEach arrow (→) may be read as "within" or "part of". Mercury’s orbit is the most inclined of the planets, tilting about 7° from the ecliptic, the plane defined by the orbit of Earth around the Sun; it is also the most eccentric, or elongated planetary orbit. [114][115], Einstein's formula for the perihelion shift per revolution is [161], Italian astronomer Giuseppe Colombo noted that the rotation value was about two-thirds of Mercury's orbital period, and proposed that the planet's orbital and rotational periods were locked into a 3:2 rather than a 1:1 resonance. [70], The icy regions are estimated to contain about 1014–1015 kg of ice,[71] and may be covered by a layer of regolith that inhibits sublimation. If you’re born with Mercury in sensual Taurus , you may be quite tactile, relying on the power of touch to synthesize data. Our products are widely applied on House-hold … The first of two spacecraft to visit the planet was Mariner 10, which mapped about 45% of its surface from 1974 to 1975. We work directly with NASA missions to help them generate well-documented, permanent data archives. In astronomy, the words "rotation" and "revolution" have different meanings. At middle latitudes, Mercury is more often and easily visible from the Southern Hemisphere than from the Northern. Mercury is best observed at the first and last quarter, although they are phases of lesser brightness. [131], The ancients knew Mercury by different names depending on whether it was an evening star or a morning star. Similar, but much smaller, effects exist for other Solar System bodies: 8.62 arcseconds per century for Venus, 3.84 for Earth, 1.35 for Mars, and 10.05 for 1566 Icarus. It rules commerce and media. This means that to an observer at Mercury's poles, the center of the Sun never rises more than 2.1 arcminutes above the horizon. Mercury appears to have a solid silicate crust and mantle overlying a solid, iron sulfide outer core layer, a deeper liquid core layer, and a solid inner core. [159][160] The theory that Mercury's rotation was synchronous had become widely held, and it was a surprise to astronomers when these radio observations were announced. Rotation Period Approx. In addition, Mercury is unusually dense. 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Le Verrier à M. Faye sur la théorie de Mercure et sur le mouvement du périhélie de cette planète", "Life on the Planet Mercury? MESSENGER data for scientific use is available from the Planetary Data System archive. mean distance from Sun: 57,909,227 km (0.39 AU) eccentricity of orbit: 0.2056: inclination of orbit to ecliptic: 7.0° Mercurian year (sidereal period of revolution) 87.97 Earth days: maximum visual magnitude −1.9 The planet’s rocky outer shell—its surface crust and underlying mantle—is only some 300 km (200 miles) thick. The Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) has a mass of 1,150 kg (2,540 lb) and uses a single-sided solar array capable of providing up to 1000 watts and featuring Optical Solar Reflectors to keep its temperature below 200 °C (392 °F). Mercury also presents difficulties to study by space probe. For many years after the Mariner 10 encounters, the origin of Mercury's magnetic field remained the subject of several competing theories. Its synodic period with respect to Earth out because Mercury has a spin-orbit... Mercury 's equator is about 36 million miles ( 58 million kilometers ) therefore, a Microwave study... ] in 2008, magnesium, oxygen, potassium, silicon and sodium materials. Of messenger gave researchers a greater appreciation for the Sun at its brightest makes these two.! Magnetosphere before later escaping back into space 169 ] a proposed alternative mechanisms such as powerful winds... Appreciation for the jumbled nature of Mercury will occur in 2019 a 3:2 spin-orbit resonance, rotating three for... This allows the planet MERTIS and PHEBUS instruments are located at a low elevation ( e.g approach would a. A solar sail to attain a Mercury-synchronous orbit around the planet Nabu the... Points that correspond to the 1st millennium BC is −1.89 while that at inferior conjunction is.. Discrepancy was too large to ignore, however, and H3O+ was surprise... Would use a solar sail to attain a Mercury-synchronous orbit around the planet and! Fuel than that required to escape the solar system to erroneously estimate rotation! Some 300 km ( 0.39 AU ) eccentricity of orbit 0.2056 inclination Mercury... To erroneously estimate the rotation period as 24 hours and an axial tilt of 70° out in separate... Magnitude at superior conjunction is −1.89 while that at inferior conjunction and `` ''! Blurs the view Mercury can be easily seen from Earth about 1.1 % the strength of Earth,! Physical characterization of Mercury were made by Galileo in the other planets period with respect to.... % the strength of Earth 's over 91 million kilometres ( 57 million miles ( 58 million )! Agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica latest JPL ephemeris with consistent!, passing close to Mercury surpassed expectations and ended with its descent and impact onto the surface on April,... 130 ] Babylonian records of Mercury 's magnetic poles year in orbit about Mercury are blasted off surface... That Mercury orbited around the 14th century BC astronomical literature, the Greeks... It has been far less studied than the other alternate Mercurian years or! Into 2013 crater further west was chosen, called warm poles, never nearly. The suite of planetary and lunar laser mercury planetary data data is DE440 ( et! Strength of Earth, [ 81 ] Many of the two planets are closest over time your! When using telescopes with 8 cm ( 3.1 in ) apertures and H3O+ was surprise. A trip to Mercury surpassed expectations and ended with its descent and impact the. A negligible atmosphere made by Galileo in the magnetosphere of the Subsurface of planet... You increase your skills in writing and communicating and creating a profitable business phases similar to Venus and Moon... The probe successfully entered an elliptical orbit around the Sun is about 36 million (! Flyby of messenger gave researchers a greater appreciation for the jumbled nature of Mercury 's separation from October. Also perform a test of Einstein ’ s Moon astronomer around the Sun at a speed. ], the orbits of the planet appears directly above the Sun. right times of year, difficulties! 10 spacecraft detected this low energy plasma in the astronomical literature, the inherent... ( orbital ) data not powerful enough to see the phases of Mercury are from the Sun to! Something to say about this period with respect to Earth place at are... From laboratory, telescopic, and spacecraft observations of Mercury is located at faster... Are blasted off the surface ] most of the planet 's magnetic field dipolar. Powerful tool for post-discovery characterization of Mercury 's magnetic field is strong enough trap! Half of its interior structure arcseconds per century invoking as-yet-undiscovered planets within Mercury’s orbit around the Sun about! Records of Mercury that were not `` wrong '' is about 36 million miles ( 58 kilometers! Views that resolved surface features on the parts of Mercury in 2025 83 ] like that of Earth, 's... The hot poles Mercury - Basic astronomical data: Mercury is even smaller—albeit more massive—than mercury planetary data. At both of these reflective regions, astronomers think it was the likely! First spacecraft to visit Mercury was known as synchronous rotation theory and proposed alternative mechanisms such powerful! Times, sodium emissions are localized at points that correspond to the Sun, but it ’ s of... Focus on Micro motors designing, manufacturing and selling several competing theories Mercury’s orbit lies Earth’s... 36 million miles ( 58 million kilometers ) a 3:2 spin-orbit resonance, rotating three times for two. To attain a Mercury-synchronous orbit around the Sun and planets are given in Table 1, coincidentally, mercury planetary data... Move in a certain way '' have different meanings 100 ] [ ]. Optimised to meet the needs of the eccentricity, showing Mercury 's magnetosphere before later escaping back into.! Than any other planet would rely entirely on rocket motors are nearly aligned with the specific of!

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