Monday, December 17, 2012

Planet Mercury


A brave little planet of our solar system (only Pluto is smaller) is next door neighbor of the mighty Sun.Since it rotates nearest to it we can view it only at sunset or sunrise.It shines very brightly & we can see it with our naked eyes.

Mercury has borne the brunt of assaults by thousands of meteorites & asteroids,resulting in vast craters on it's surface.It also has steep round cliffs which are not found on any other planet.Sixty% of it's land is smooth like the moon.It is only slightly larger than our Moon.

One very interesting fact about Mercury is that while it whizzes past Sun at a speed of 172,000 kmh(the fastest speed in our solar system),taking 88 earth days to complete one year;it rotates very slowly,taking almost 59 earth days to constitute the daytime and an equal time span to make up the night.Add to this the fact that it has a negligible atmosphere to trap the surface heat & the consequence is that the part which faces the Sun heats up to 840*F & when the night comes it drops to -290*F.Playing hot and cold if you like!Another chimerical feature of this planet is that even in day time it's sky will be pitch black except for the luminous bodies when visible.One more bouncer from the same source-it tracks an elliptical orbit because of which if you were to stand on it's surface you would see the Sun changing sizes.It is a different matter that you would first roast to vapor or be frozen to an icicle,depending if it was day or night!The latest discovery by NASA suggests that it's North Pole has deposits of ice & water.Well!Surprises never cease in Astronomy!

Although nearest to Sun,it is not the hottest planet of our family.Which one is that?Surprise!Wait for the answer!

Text courtesy Robin Kerrod
Image courtesy gstatic.com

31 comments :

  1. I know the answer to that one, but I will not spoil the fun!

    This mercury baby is quite mercurial in nature:) Interesting post!

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    1. This mercury baby is quite mercurial in nature!

      I loved this line of yours-keep em coming!

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  2. Aah, Indu---The Milky Way, stretching its course across the heavens, must be quite a sight to behold. Isn't it?
    Nothing can be taken for granted about space....
    almost everything is racing around at breakneck speed. Just wonder, what will happen if everything comes to a halt one day! Ewww..sounds creepy, nah?
    Now ,I really want to know about that magical planet which is close to the sun yet not so hot!!:) This series is getting more n more interesting!! Thanks for the details :)))

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    1. Panchali all those who view the skies through Hubble space telescope or other such instruments--i really envy them all.The sights must be glorious beyond imagination.

      Regarding things coming to a halt-just wait for 20-12-12 Hahaha!

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  3. Thank You Indu for taking us on the tour to our Solar System:)

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  4. I love to know more about galaxies, planets, stars and all :)
    I enjoyed reading about Mercury today :) Beautiful post Indu!

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  5. Sri Valli thanks for visiting-this topic intrigues all of us as you say.

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  6. One suggestion for your, Indu. In these posts, instead of just focusing on the astronomical facts, it would be more interesting if you bring in astrological aspects and myths from various cultures and tie them all up, it can make a real fascinating read.

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  7. Thank you TF,only today i too thought of this--rather late of course.Shall try it next time.

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  8. I was just wondering how long one needs to sleep or work to complete one day-night cycle in Mercury! It is almost like having an eternal summer-winter cycle every two months. How does the ice not melt when it is so hot during day?

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  9. Trust you to give a unique insight ZEPHYR!Actually mercury is almost ramrod straight as it rotates round Sun-but not totally.There is a slight tilt because of which some very deep pockets of it's north pole are never exposed to sun-hence the ice,water deposits.And you know it is earth's axial tilt which gives us various seasons.In mercury there are no seasons--only piping hot n freezing cold alternating day n night!

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  10. I have to catch up on all your posts...hope to do it soon..just to say, I didn't forget you :) you don't have to publish this..:-) cheers, latha

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  11. Latha you are welcome.Do it at your own convenience.
    Love you !

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  12. Amazing!
    Thank you Indu for all these posts on this topic...refreshing our long forgotten knowledge of wonderful planets:)

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    1. You are welcome,this whole subject is very amazing.Iam glad you like it.

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  13. The day they were telling about the hottest planet I WAS IN MY CLASS :) phewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
    otherwise i was a OUTSTANDING student always STANDING - OUT of the class :)

    but thanks to you I am learning new things tooooo ...

    Bikram's

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    1. Haha you are an outstanding blogger too!!!!!!!!
      PS:I don't mean it in THAT sense!

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  14. The forgotten knowledge coming back to live.. Thanx so much.. It reminded me of my project on planets.. I am missing it... everything has been lost in time..

    manjulikapramod.com

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    1. Manjulika a warm welcome to you!A project on planets?That would have been quite something.In fact you should have been writing this series,it would have been more authentic.But anyhow,correct me if i go wrong!

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  15. One ticket to Mars please! Imagine a day and night that lasts 59 days? Whoa!

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    1. Purba please keep coming .I love the way you infuse humor into everything!

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  16. Oh my...never knew this...glad I read it today..read it to my son..he has one warm green blankie, his favourite..he says, amma then I think I need to have 800 green blankets and grins.. :P..I said, even if you take 8000 green blankets, you are still going to be cold..

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    1. I welcome my newest guest on jeeteraho.
      Youngster,east or west,earth is best!
      These planets look so cool from here,& look what goes on inside them.

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  17. woww,a planet which blows hot and blows cold, whizzes in a jiffy and rotates at leisure-full of contraries.

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  18. Wow,a planet which blows hot and cold,whizzes past at break neck speed and rotates at leisure-full of contraries.

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  19. Oh yes,these planets are very eccentric to say the least.

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