Mercury: Bombarded by many tiny meteoroids

Does Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun in our solar system, have an atmosphere? How is that possible? It has been known for a long time that Mercury, the innermost planet in the solar system does not have much of an atmosphere. This variable

1865 Views | Published on 27th Jul, 2017

Does Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun in our solar system, have an atmosphere? How is that possible?

It has been known for a long time that Mercury, the innermost planet in the solar system does not have much of an atmosphere. This variable “exosphere” around Mercury has been detected several times and appears to contain numerous interesting chemical elements besides hydrogen. Chemicals such as potassium, sodium, oxygen and even water vapor also have been measured. Besides that, there also is seasonal variation in the dust/meteoroid environment of Mercury. The material varies with position on the planet and sometimes has a dawn–dusk asymmetry. But why? Where is the material in Mercury’s exosphere come from? Is it from the surface, or the blast from the Solar wind. A new analysis of comets suggests that these are the orgin of some features in Mercury’s exosphere.

Join Tony Darnell and Carol Christian during Afternoon Astronomy Coffee on July 27, 2017 at 3PM Eastern (Daylight) Time as they discuss with Menelaus Sarantos and Diego Janches about their study of this fascinating planet.

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