Friday, December 2, 2011

Mercury

Mercury is the innermost and smallest planet in the Solar System,orbiting the Sun once every 87.969 Earth days. The orbit of Mercury has the highest eccentricity of all the Solar System planets, and it has the smallest axial tilt. It completes three rotations about its axis for every two orbits. The perihelion of Mercury's orbit precesses around the Sun at an excess of 43 arcseconds per century, a phenomenon that was explained in the 20th century by Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.Mercury is bright when viewed from Earth, ranging from −2.3 to 5.7 in apparent magnitude, but is not easily seen as its greatest angular separation from the Sun is only 28.3°. Since Mercury is normally lost in the glare of the Sun, unless there is a solar eclipse it can be viewed from Earth's Northern Hemisphere only in morning or evening twilight, while its extreme elongations occur in declinations south of the celestial equator, such that it can be seen at favorable apparitions from moderate latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere in a fully dark sky.


Characteristics of Mercury


1. Mass       : 3.30 x 10 26 g

2. Radius    : 2,439 km

3. Mean density  :5.4 g / cm

4.Rotational period  : 58.65 days

5. Orbital period       : 88 days

6. Mean distance from the Sun : 57.9 million km

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