Mercury is the first planet from the sun. Earth is the third. The distance between Mercury and Earth is approximately 48 million miles. However, this can change depending on where the planets are in their individual orbits. The maximum distance apart is 137 million miles. They are in a constant flux and the maximum distance is when both are on opposite sides of the sun.
Learning About Mercury’s Orbit
Mercury has a very eccentric orbit. At some points, it is 29 million miles from the sun and at others, it is 43 million miles away. Considering the orbit of all of the planets, Mercury’s is the shortest in terms of its orbit around the sun. Compared to all planets, Mercury has the most elliptical of all of the orbits. The orbit of this planet is considered to be quite bizarre among astronomers. It orbits the slowest when it is the furthest from the sun.
Facts About Mercury
If you were standing on Mercury when it was in the part of its orbit that puts it closest to the sun, the sun would appear three times larger compared to the size it seems on Earth. There is no atmosphere on this planet that is able to retain heat. Because of this, during the day, it can be as hot as 800 degrees Fahrenheit, but at night, this can plummet to negative 290 degrees Fahrenheit. However, even with such extreme temperatures, especially during the day, this is not the hottest planet. Venus takes that honor.
Space is an interesting place, especially since the planets are not stationary. With different distances at different times, this can present challenges to those studying the planets. However, it also gives researchers a chance to see Mercury and other plants from different perspectives.