What is the closest planet to the sun?
Science and Technology

What is the closest planet to the sun?

The distance that separates us from the sun seems perfect, because the warmth it gives us is conducive to life. In fact, if we on Earth complain about heat waves, it’s an entirely different atmosphere than Mercury, the planet closest to the sun.


Mercury has been identified since the most ancient times, by the Assyrians, as early as the twentieth century BC A very fast and very bright wandering starThey can be observed with the naked eye before dawn and after dusk. That is why the Romans called her Mercuriusthe name of the Messenger of the gods.

How far is Mercury from the sun?

Of all the eight major planets that make up our solar system, Mercury It is closest to the sun. 0.39 AU falls from the latter, which corresponds to 59 million km Medium distance.

she also smaller for all planets. only diameter 4879.4 kmThis is it 3 times smaller than Earth.

Formed from 4.5 billion years, or since the beginning of the solar system. Scientists believe that it is the result of the collision of a giant asteroid and a protoplanet.

During this event, solar radiation scatter where destroy Large amounts of material. This explains The thinnest outer layer from the planet. Planet formation simulations have shown that 50% of these current particles took 4 million years Undo Mercury.

Mercury in black and white

physical properties


like all telluric planetsMercury has three concentric solid and liquid envelopes including:

  • standard metal core Very dense, occupying approximately 42% of its volume, 70% of its total mass. It represents approximately 85% of the radius of the corresponding planet 2025 km.
  • molten mantle layer of 200 km Inside a rocky mantle from 600 km fusible.
  • hard shell of 35 to 54 km covering the scarf.

Its surface is very similar to the far side of the moon. In fact, it is full drilling resulting from violence meteorite falls. Let us mention in particular Calories Basinwhich measures approx Diameter 1300 km. It is the impact of the impact of an asteroid 150 km in size, 3.85 billion years ago.

It can be clearly seen Big flaw on its surface. Scientists believe that this is due to the coldness of the continental crust. Because of this, I tested his beam – a decrease of about 7 km after this phenomenon.


Atmosphere and Climate

At first glance, Mercury appears dry and without an atmosphere, but it is not. The sensors he sent NASA In particular, it was able to detect a modest proportion of hydrogen, helium and oxygen. Furthermore, water vapor was also included, as were sodium, calcium, and potassium. Which leads them to believe that its atmosphere as well In constant renewal.

In fact, his original atmosphere Soon after its formation. Moreover, it is the heat and low gravity of the planet and the main action of the solar wind that makes Mercury Impossible to maintain purposeful atmosphere. It also justifies Big differences in temperature on its surface. At its peak, when the sun is closest to perihelion, it can reach its most extremes 420°C. On the contrary, it can reach -175°C in the shade.

Furthermore, we found ice At the poles at the bottom of the pits at a depth of 5 km and a temperature -200°C. This can be explained by the fact that these places are never exposed to the sun.

See also: How many planets are there in the solar system?

How do we count the days on Mercury?


orbiting Mercury, figure Elliptical, It is the most Far from the solar system. Far from the sun varies by 40%. This number equates to 46 million to 70 million kilometers from the Sun during its lifetime Revolution.

You take this trip while 88 earth days Just. And therefore, general Thus, Mercury corresponds to about 3 months on the ground.

in contrast, turns on itself slower due to its rotation period. day On Mercury roughly corresponds to 59 earth days In principle approx 2 months.

rock bottom

Johannes Kepler repeat notes Tycho Brahe . Thus, it shows that the planet Mars crossed with an elliptical orbit variable speed.

deduce that The distance from the sun can change. For this reason, the planets move faster near the sun and slow down as they move further away.

In 1965 it was discovered Privacy in Mercury. Like what’s close to rock bottomAnd the Orbital velocity is acceleratingthe planet will at some point exceed its rotational speed and The sun shines there twice a day.

In other words, a full mercury day continue for They revolve around the sun (two cents of mercury). In addition, it performs 3 turns on itself, This is almost 176 earth days.

Newton, It is found that the perihelion of Mercury Move in time. According to him, it is progressing with an approximate period 225,000 years The situation is constantly changing. This largely stems from influence of nearby planets : Jupiter, Venus, Earth.

This is it Albert Einstein Then who explains the reason for this phenomenon. In his theory, he explains it The massive mass of the sun World Health Organization Spacetime bends, thus affecting the movement of Mercury’s perihelion. However, in 1915 we managed to prove this hypothesis.

Mercury transit

Namely, the plane of Mercury’s orbit is Inclined at 7 degrees on that land. That is why this rare phenomenon occurs every 23 years of mercury on average. Thus, the transit of Mercury occurs at that It passes between the sun and the earth. It can be seen as a black dot crossing the solar disk. The last transit of Mercury was on November 11, 2019, and the next one will be on November 13, 2032.

Space missions on Mercury

In 1974, the space probe Navy 10 subordinate NASA brings us The first images of Mercury’s surface. As it launched into its orbit toward Venus, it was programmed to pass close to Mercury every two years.

In 2004, a more complex probe was called messenger launched for Orbit around Mercury. However, due to the presence of the Sun, regular corrections are made to the orbit for years before the goal is reached.

only through 2011 The probe finally reaches its destination. However, it flew over the planet at an altitude of at least 200 km and a maximum altitude of 15,200 km. His mission lasted 4 years and ends in 2015.

In 2025, the probe BepiColombo From’European Space Agency / JAXA Launched in October 2018 It should revolve around Mercury. Its purpose is to study the planet and its magnetosphere for two years.

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