Fascinating Facts About Mercury

Mercury is the planet nearest to the Sun.

It is the second smallest planet in our solar system.

No planet experiences more radical temperature changes than Mercury. The temperature can rise to 800°F during the day and drop to -275°F at night.

Mercury is a world without an atmosphere. It has no air or life of any kind. It is also covered with thousands of ancient craters.

Because it is so near the Sun, Mercury can actually have two sunrises in a single day!

A solar day on Mercury, from sunrise to sunrise, lasts about six Earth months!

Mercury is one of the smallest of the nine planets in our solar system. It is also the nearest planet to the Sun. Mercury spins very slowly. The side next to the Sun gets very hot before it turns away from the Sun. The other side freezes while away from the Sun. As the planet slowly spins, the frozen side then becomes burning hot and the hot side becomes freezing cold.

Even though Mercury spins slowly. It moves around the Sun very quickly. That is why it was named Mercury—after the Roman messenger for the gods.

Underline:

Mercury is the largest planet in our solar system.

is one of the smallest planets in our solar system.

Write: darkest nearest

Mercury is the_planet to the Sun.

Match:

How does spinning slowly affect the temperature on Mercury?

The side next to the Sun is freezing cold.

The side away from the Sun is burning hot.

Circle:

Mercury moves^¡¡^ around the Sun. Mercury spins very jfj^jj1^' Check:

Mercury was named for the Q famous Roman speaker.

| | Roman messenger for the gods.

Mercury is the planet closest to the Sun. That is why Mercury travels around the Sun faster than any other planet. It takes Mercury 88 days to revolve once around the Sun. Little was known about Mercury before 1974. Scientists have a hard time studying Mercury with telescopes because of the Sun's great light. In 1974 and 1175, an unmanned spacecraft named Mariner X flew by Mercury three times and sent scientists new information about the planet. The surface of Mercury is much like the Moon's surface. It has high cliffs and deep craters, or holes. Mercury has almost no atmosphere, or gases, surrounding it. Temperatures on the planet range from over 800°F to -210°F! Mercury does not have a moon.

Write each answer in a sentence.

I. Which planet is closest to the Sun?

2. How long does it take Mercury to revolve around the Sun?

3. Why do scientists have a hard time studying Mercury with telescopes?_

4. What did Mariner X do?

5. Describe Mercury's surface.

You know that Mercury is the planet located closest to the Sun, right? This little planet, less than half the size of Earth, orbits around the Sun quickly because it is so close to that star.

What is a year? Circle your answer.

A. The time it takes a planet to go around the Sun once.

B The time it takes for a star to stop shining.

C. The time it takes for a moon to orbit a planet.

The answer is A! Mercury's year is the shortest of all the planets—88 Earth days.

A year on Earth is how many days?_

Now Try This:

I. How old would you be on Mercury if you had been there for WO days?

How many days would you have to be on Mercury to reach your present age?_

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