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Mercury and Venus

Mercury and Venus

Mercury and Venus


The innermost planet is rarely seen because of the Sun's glare. With  less than half Earth's gravity, Mercury retains only a wisp of an atmosphere  (presumed to be helium). The lack of a significant atmosphere allows  temperatures to fluctuate from 750 degrees Fahrenheit during the day to  minus 320 Fahrenheit at night.

Like the other terrestrial planets -- Venus, Earth and Mars -- Mercury is  made mostly of rock and metal. This small world is scarred by craters and  looks somewhat like our Moon.

Mercurius: roman winged messenger of the gods 

Historical notes

Mercury has been known since ancient times. Its elusiveness generated  the name Hermes, given by the Greeks, later translated to Mercurius by  the Romans.


The second planet from the sun bakes under twice as much solar  radiation as Earth and reaches temperatures of 895 degrees Fahrenheit  (480 degrees Celsius). Pressure from the dense atmosphere of sulfuric  acid gas is about 95 times greater than Earth's and would crush a human.   The thick cloud cover around Venus rotates much faster than the planet  itself -- once every four days. After the moon, Venus is the brightest object  in the sky.  

The surface of Venus is mostly a rocky desert (this computer-generated  view shows lava flows around Sif Mons). Like Mercury, Earth and Mars,  Venus is composed of mostly rock and metal.  

Venus: roman goddess of love and beauty 

Historical notes

The Greeks believed Venus was two separate objects -- one in the  morning skyand another in the evening. Because it is often brighter than  any other object in the sky -- except for the sun and moon -- Venus has  generated many UFO reports.  

Final facts

While all of the planets orbit in an ellipse, Venus' orbit is the closest to a  perfect circle. It is the only planet in the solar system whose day (241 Earth  days) is longer than its year (225 Earth days).

Список литературы

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