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why mercury is not the hottest planet

By 8 December 2020 No Comments

However, this is not the case. The fact that Venus is nearly twice as far from the Sun, however, matters a great deal. But on Venus, the story is different. Mercury and Venus are the two closest planets to the Sun, so it stands to reason that they are also the hottest planets in the solar system. It also rotates even slower than Mercury, spending more than 100 consecutive Earth-days at a time bathed in sunlight and then an equal amount of time in darkness. In fact, it is a cold planet where average temperatures are over -100 º F ( … Mercury is a terrestrial planet. Image credit: E. Siegel. mercury also has a long night (several months, due to a complicated orbital resonance that causes mercury to have 3 days every two times it orbits the sun), allowing the heated surface to cool down. Orbits of the inner and outer planets. Venus is the hottest planet because it is covered by a thick layer of clouds composed of carbon dioxide and other gases, which prevent the heat from the sun from escaping back into outer space. Mercury’s Unique Orbit. Public domain images. Mercury rotates very slowly, so its night side spends a consecutively long time in the dark, shielded from the Sun; during those times, it gets down to just 100 Kelvin (−173 °C / −280 °F). Mercury revolves around the Sun at 112,000 mph, which is the fastest of all … If it weren't for Earth's atmosphere, the mean temperature on our planet would be a paltry 255 Kelvin (-18 °C / -1 °F), or approximately the temperature of the Antarctic continent. So not only does Mercury receive four times as much energy-per-unit-area, it absorbs nearly nine times as much of the sunlight it receives as Venus does! Time on Mercury. Venus is about twice as far from the Sun, on average, as Mercury is, taking about 225 Earth-days to orbit the Sun. Because although Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, it does not have an atmosphere. Radiation from the Sun is absorbed by the planet, and the infrared heat emitted is trapped by the carbon dioxide, which creates a runaway greenhouse effect. And yet, Venus is still hotter, which tells us that something else important must be going on with one of the other two points. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons user Jonathan Chone, under a c.c.a.-s.a.-4.0 international license, modified by E. Siegel. Comparing these two worlds, there are four very stark differences: As far as absorbing and radiating heat goes, it turns out that size doesn’t matter very much. So what makes Venus hotter than Mercury? This is because of the fourth and all-important difference between the two worlds: Mercury has no atmosphere, while Venus has a very thick one. Mercury is the smallest planet in our solar system. However, Mercury definitely is quite a hot planet. At its hottest, the closest world to the Sun reaches up to 800º Fahrenheit. read less Each quantum of infrared radiation -- the re-radiated heat -- has got to get through that thick, thick atmosphere, which is difficult. If it weren’t for Earth’s atmosphere, the mean temperature on our planet would be a paltry 255 Kelvin (-18 °C / -1 °F), or approximately the temperature of the Antarctic continent. As the closest planet to the Sun, it completes an orbit in just 88 Earth-days, achieving a maximum temperature during the day of a whopping 700 Kelvin (427 °C / 800 °F) at its hottest, equatorial locations. The Universe is out there, waiting for you to discover it. The Moon, for example, looks to have a pretty high albedo to our eyes, with a white appearance during both the day and night. As far as absorbing and radiating heat goes, it turns out that size doesn’t matter very much. A year on Mercury lasts 88 Earth days. It likely had the same potential for life and biological processes, but a runaway catastrophe created the permanent inferno that's inhabited our sister world for billions of years. Mercury has no atmosphere, while Venus has a very thick atmosphere. If any planet in our Solar System were going to be the hottest, you would have to think it would be Mercury.. During the day, the planets absorb energy from the Sun, but during both the day and the night, they radiate energy back into space. This was an observation that cried out for an explanation, and so we began contrasting the two innermost planets. This makes Mercury closer to the Sun than the others. Any object that’s twice as far away from the Sun receives only one quarter the amount of solar energy per-unit-area, meaning Mercury should receives about four times as much energy on every part of its surface as Venus does. So not only does Mercury receive four times as much energy-per-unit-area, it absorbs nearly nine times as much of the sunlight it receives as Venus does! This dude is literally so useless. And yet, when you measure the temperature of Venus, there’s a surprise: Venus is the same temperature at all times, day or night, at an average of 735 Kelvin (462 °C / 863 °F), making it even hotter than Mercury! The very cold, polar regions of the Earth have a mean temperature far below the rest of the planet:... [+] approximately -20 Celsius. That’s just embarrassing. It’s up to humanity to learn those lessons and decide what we do next. With a diameter of 12,014 kilometers (7,465 miles), Venus is only slightly smaller than our planet. … Mercury rotates very slowly, so its night side spends a consecutively long time in the dark, shielded from the Sun; during those times, it gets down to just 100 Kelvin (−173 °C / −280 °F). Mercury is the most cratered planet. You see, Mercury and Venus don’t just absorb light from the Sun; each planet then re-radiates that energy as heat back into space. If we’re being quantitative, it’s actually extremely hot! (Without an external heat source, most planetary temperatures would equilibrate at -270 °C / -455 °F.) This is why temperatures heat up during the day and cool off during the night, something that’s pretty much true for every planet that has both a day side and a night side. A year in Mercury is 88 days, yet a Mercury day is 176 Earth days. This post first appeared at Forbes, and is brought to you ad-free by our Patreon supporters. I have won numerous awards for science writing. Don’t let the Moon’s white appearance fool you! Asked by: Akil Answer Mercury is closest to the sun, this is true. Image credit: E. Siegel. Natural color image of Venus from Mariner 10 data. "Despite being closest to the sun, Mercury is not the hottest planet. The reason why Mercury is not the hottest planet is that it is very dense. As the closest planet to the Sun, it completes an orbit in just 88 Earth-days, achieving a maximum temperature during the day of a whopping 700 Kelvin (427 °C / 800 °F) at its hottest, equatorial locations. But if a planet’s various orbital parameters were the only things that determined temperature, then the closest planet to the Sun would inevitably be the hottest, and they would all get progressively cooler as we moved farther and farther away. distance squared. Along with being dense, Mercury is the second hottest planet, behind Venus. The moon at night and during the day, as seen from Earth. In reality, all physical objects have an albedo between 0 and 1. Image credit: © 2005 Mattias Malmer, from... [+] NASA/JPL data. While Earth isn’t at risk of the same fate, Venus stands as both the hottest world in our Solar System and a cautionary tale of an out-of-control greenhouse effect. Venus? This strange occurrence did more than just puzzle astronomers when they first discovered it; it mortified them! The eight planets of the Solar System. This strange occurrence did more than just puzzle astronomers when they first discovered it; it mortified them! Image credit: Wikimedia Commons user WP, under a c.c.-by-s.a.... [+] 3.0 license. In the grand scheme of the Solar System, the greatest source of energy by far is the Sun. Mercury is not the hottest planet in the solar system even though it is so close to the sun because Venus has a very thick atmosphere full of carbon dioxide which traps heat but mercury doesn't even have an atmosphere. This difference is completely irrelevant. It also rotates even slower than Mercury, spending more than 100 consecutive Earth-days at a time bathed in sunlight and then an equal amount of time in darkness. For airless Mercury, all of that heat goes immediately back into space. Venus makes the hottest planet in the solar system, after which it is Mercury. Mercury’s Neighbors. The blanket-like effect of the clouds and atmospheric gases lift our planet’s climate into the temperate zone where life-as-we-know it has thrived for so long. Nice. Any object that’s twice as far away from the Sun receives only one quarter the amount of solar energy per-unit-area, meaning Mercury should receives about four times as much energy on every part of its surface as Venus does. Mars? Images credit: NASA / SDO / HMI / Stanford Univ., Jesper Schou (top); NASA's TRACE Satellite (bottom). Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. Mercury is the only terrestrial planet that still has hydrogen and helium in its atmosphere. Image credit: Wikipedia’s page on Bond Albedo, with data from R Nave at Ga. State and NASA. Global mosaic of the planet Mercury by NASA's Messenger spacecraft. The Moon, for example, looks to have a pretty high albedo to our eyes, with a white appearance during both the day and night. Don’t let the Moon's white appearance fool you! Can We Outrun Dark Energy In The Race To See The Universe? So not only does Mercury receive four times as … But on Venus, the story is different. Earth? Mercury turns out to be similar to the Moon at 0.119, while Venus’ albedo is by far the highest of all planetary bodies in the Solar System at 0.90. 2. Mercury's atmosphere does not contain CO2 (because of which all the heat is returned to space). While radioactivity and gravitational contraction might supply a substantial amount of energy to the cores of massive planets, the light and heat emitted from our parent star is overwhelmingly responsible for a planet's surface temperature. Note how Venus' atmosphere... [+] diffracts sunlight around it, while Mercury's lack of atmosphere shows no such effects. However, mercury is not the hottest planet in the solar system. Why could Mars not hold onto its atmosphere? It's not as close to the Sun as Mercury, but its thick atmosphere,mostly made up of carbon dioxide and its runaway greenhouse effect, make it extremely hot. © 2020 Forbes Media LLC. Smallest. Mercury does not have any moons. The link between the Sun, the atmosphere and the planet’s fate is written all over each world in our Solar System. EY & Citi On The Importance Of Resilience And Innovation, Impact 50: Investors Seeking Profit — And Pushing For Change, Michigan Economic Development Corporation with Forbes Insights, Treknology: The Science of Star Trek from Tricorders to Warp Drive, Beyond the Galaxy: How humanity looked beyond our Milky Way and discovered the entire Universe. Venus contains a high percentage of carbon dioxide due to which it is hottest planet. That’s the story of the closest planet to the Sun: Mercury. Mercury is the smallest and innermost planet in the Solar System.Its orbit around the Sun takes 87.97 Earth days, the shortest of all the planets in the Solar System. It is the hottest planet in the solar system. Really cool colour and notable for being the hottest planet. Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system with an average temperature of … 10 Surprising Places In Space With The Right Raw Ingredients For Life, Dark Matter’s Biggest Problem Might Simply Be A Numerical Error, Five Surprising Truths About Black Holes From LIGO, UGC 2885, the Rotation Curves of Galaxies, and Dark Matter. Follow me on Twitter @startswithabang. I am a Ph.D. astrophysicist, author, and science communicator, who professes physics and astronomy at various colleges. However, even though Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, it is actually cooler than Venus. But just because it’s red, doesn’t make it the hottest. Venus, has a very thick atmosphere of CO2, which adds incredible pressure, and traps in the heat. Mercury is the planet that is closest to the sun and therefore gets more direct heat, but even it isn’t the hottest. Closest planet to the sun and still not as spicy as Venus? If you were standing on the equator of Mercury at noon, the temperature rises to 700 kelvin (427° C or 800° F). It is the closest to the sun, and its name is synonymous with temperature because of the metal of the same name which used to be in thermometers. That’s the story of the closest planet to the Sun: Mercury. (Without an external heat source, most planetary temperatures would equilibrate at -270 °C / -455 °F.) approximately -20 Celsius. Mercury is one of the five bright planets in our solar system … If we're being quantitative, it's actually extremely hot! From an average distance of 36 million miles (58 million kilometers), Mercury is 0.4 astronomical units away from the Sun. The Moon’s average albedo is only about 0.12, which means only 12% of the light that hits it get reflected, while the other 88% gets absorbed. Mercury doesn't really have an atmosphere. Has liquid water and shit. If Mercury were double its size or Venus were half of its size, neither one would have its temperature change by any appreciable amount. Mercury is nearly tidally locked to the Sun – also known as a gravitational lock – and over time this has slowed the rotation of the planet to almost match its orbit around the Sun. While radioactivity and gravitational contraction might supply a substantial amount of energy to the cores of massive planets, the light and heat emitted from our parent star is overwhelmingly responsible for a planet’s surface temperature. I am a Ph.D. astrophysicist, author, and science communicator, who professes physics and astronomy at various colleges. Mercury is hot. Mercury is the smallest planet in our solar system—only slightly larger than Earth's Moon. 1. “There is no question that climate change is happening; the only arguable point is what part humans are playing in it.” –David Attenborough. Healey, via http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2015/03/White_space. Mercury is the closest planet to the sun. Looks life mercury likes to pick up fights with asteroids and … If Mercury were double its size or Venus were half of its size, neither one would have its temperature change by any appreciable amount. The hottest planet is Venus (at 462 Celsius)" 1- It’s not that Mercury isn’t hot. Image credit: NASA-APL. We also expect seasons — cool times and warm times — based on both how elliptical a planet’s orbit is and on its axial tilt. As the light from the Sun spreads out through space, a more distant world intercepts less and less of its energy. Comment on our forum, & buy our first book: Beyond The Galaxy! But if a planet's various orbital parameters were the only things that determined temperature, then the closest planet to the Sun would inevitably be the hottest, and they would all get progressively cooler as we moved farther and farther away. Most people find this to be an amazing fact, but the reason for this is actually quite easy to explain. From this distance, it takes sunlight 3.2 minutes to trave… To an excellent approximation, the Sun keeps not only Earth, but all the planets at a temperature well above what they'd be without it: just a few Kelvin. With a radius of 1,516 miles (2,440 kilometers), Mercury is a little more than 1/3 the width of Earth. To an excellent approximation, the Sun keeps not only Earth, but all the planets at a temperature well above what they’d be without it: just a few Kelvin. However, because of its proximity to the sun it lacks an atmosphere. Transits of Venus (top) and Mercury (bottom) across the edge of the Sun. Every other planet has something cool about them except this loser. An object with an albedo (Bond Albedo, for the geophysicists) of 0 is a perfect absorber, while an object with an albedo of 1 is a perfect reflector. The long nights provide no escape from the heat, as the trapping and thermalizing effects of the cloud layers keep the surface of Venus at an inhospitably high temperature, so much so that if you added up the operational time of every lander that ever touched down on Venus’ surface, it wouldn’t even sum to half an Earth-day. During the day, the planets absorb energy from the Sun, but during both the day and the night, they radiate energy back into space. This is the great advantage of Mercury, which encounters nearly four times the flux per square meter compared to Venus. Perhaps a gas giant that was large enough to generate a significant fraction of its own heat would change that order (if Jupiter and Neptune were swapped, this might be the case), but in general we'd expect a planet's temperature to drop in proportion to its distance from the Sun. So Venus traps heat from the … Mercury doesn’t … Ultraviolet image of Venus' clouds as seen by the Pioneer Venus Orbiter. You may opt-out by. It is small and rocky. This is why temperatures heat up during the day and cool off during the night, something that’s pretty much true for every planet that has both a day side and a night side. but mercury has no atmosphere, so all of that heat radiates back out to space. Sick. A day on Mercury lasts 59 Earth days. This sulfuric acid haze, which extends for more than 20 km in thickness, encircles the planet at speeds from 210 to 370 km/hr, trapping the vast majority of the radiated heat and transferring it all across the planet. Image credit: ESA/IPEV/PNRA–B. Mercury is visible to the naked eye. This is the great advantage of Mercury, which encounters nearly four times the flux per square meter compared to Venus. That low temperature is incredibly cold, and far colder than any known naturally occurring temperatures here on Earth. Mercury is the smallest of the eight planets and is closest to the sun. The long nights provide no escape from the heat, as the trapping and thermalizing effects of the cloud layers keep the surface of Venus at an inhospitably high temperature, so much so that if you added up the operational time of every lander that ever touched down on Venus' surface, it wouldn't even sum to half an Earth-day. Venus is the hottest planet in the Solar System because it is close to the Sun and it … Yet if you saw two close-up pictures of the recent transits of Mercury (last month) and Venus (in 2012), you'd notice that the Sun appears to "curve" around Venus, while there's no such effect on Mercury. In reality, all physical objects have an albedo between 0 and 1. Image credit: NASA. Image credit: NASA/ESA. diffracts sunlight around it, while Mercury's lack of atmosphere shows no such effects. Planets absorb sunlight based on their cross-sectional surface area -- proportional to their radius squared -- and radiate it away in the exact same proportion. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons user Jonathan Chone, under a c.c.a.-s.a.-4.0 international license, modified by E. Siegel. One astronomical unit (abbreviated as AU), is the distance from the Sun to Earth. Planets absorb sunlight based on their cross-sectional surface area — proportional to their radius squared — and radiate it away in the exact same proportion. Image credit: Toby Smith of the University of Washington’s Astronomy Department. Venus wasn’t large enough to generate its own heat, and yet it was hotter at Venusian midnight than at Mercurian high noon. The fact that Venus is nearly twice as far from the Sun, however, matters a great deal. Atmosphere of Venus. That low temperature is incredibly cold, and far colder than any known naturally occurring temperatures here on Earth. It likely had the same potential for life and biological processes, but a runaway catastrophe created the permanent inferno that’s inhabited our sister world for billions of years. The link between the Sun, the atmosphere and the planet's fate is written all over each world in our Solar System. The lower an object’s albedo is, the better it is at absorbing light, which means the higher the albedo, the less sunlight actually gets absorbed. How reflective or absorptive an object happens to be is known as its albedo, which comes from the latin word albus, meaning white. Yet early in the Solar System’s history, with a cooler Sun and a much thinner atmosphere, Venus was probably similar in temperature to Earth’s today. And yet, Venus is still hotter, which tells us that something else important must be going on with one of the other two points. Venus is the second planet from the sun and has a temperature that is maintained at 462 degrees Celsius, no matter where you go on the planet. Its atmosphere has excessive amounts of greenhouse gases that warm the planet. So, Mercury is not the hottest planet. It is also the second densest planet, after Earth.

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