Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mercury


continuing with the planet tour

mercury
closest planet to the sun
fastest in orbit circling the sun in 88 days
named after the fleet footed messenger god mercurysmall, rocky, hot, no atmosphere
surface covered with craters
even though extremely hot, some craters near the poles cast shadows creating areas never touched by sunlight.  there appears to be water--ice in these areas

since it's so close to the sun it can only be seen just before sunrise or just after sunset
as a reddish dot near the horizon seen through turbulent atmosphere:

it has phases like the moon
a bit of imagination suggests a dark shadow upper left similar to a gibbous moon

on rare occasions mercury can pass directly in front of the sun, leaving a dark spot where the sun's rays are blocked:





note the sun spot lower left is much bigger than the planet mercury


whw

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