On last Monday, May 10, 2016, there was this celestial event of the planet Mercury transiting across the Sun which was visible from the earth due to a planetary alignment which recur not so frequently. The next time the same transit will be visible from India 16 years later, in 2032.
Although there was nothing mercurial in the planet’s transit which was seen as a moving tiny dot across the solar disc but the event was watched by enthusiasts from several locations as a rare event of sighting a planet during the day (started shortly after 4:40 PM). Special arrangements were made for viewing with telescope, especially for school children in the Aravalis of eastern Rajasthan.
The smallest planet in the solar system, Mercury, is closest to the Sun. Its distance from the Sun is about 57,910,000 Kilometre. It completes one revolution around the Sun in about 88 earth days where as it makes one orbit around it in about 116 earth days! In other words, one year in Mercury is just 88 days on earth. And what more, there one day would mean 116 days here!
What about the surface temperature there? Day temperature reaches about 427 degrees Celsius (800 deg. F) and the night temperature falls to minus 184 deg. Celsius (-300 deg. F) approximately. A phenomenon unimaginable to us.
While Mercury’s core is filled with iron and nickel as big as the Moon’s size, its surface is full of craters like those of the Moon which the scientists say is an indication of its geological inactiveness for billions of years.