Mercury. Image Credit: NASA
Mercury: Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, and orbits it in just 88 days. This fast orbit is why the planet is named for the swift Greek messenger god Mercury. Due to Mercury’s close proximity to the Sun, it has surface temperatures reaching 800 degrees fahrenheit. However, Mercury is still cooler than Venus since it doesn’t have a substantial atmosphere to hold in heat. Mercury is pockmarked like the Moon since there are no tectonic plates to change the landscape or weather to erode it. While Mercury does not have an atmosphere, it is surrounded by debris pelted off the surface by micro meteorites and the Sun’s harsh rays. At 80% the size of the Earth, Mercury has a substantial metal core that gives it a magnetic field about 1% as strong as Earth’s. Due to Mercury’s proximity to the Sun, it can only be seen at dusk or dawn from Earth. It can be seen by the naked eye, but your best chances of viewing it are during an elongation from the Sun.

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