Mercury, Solar System

How Long Is A Year On Mercury?

Mercury, the smallest and innermost planet in our solar system, has a year that is roughly 88 Earth days long.
How Long Is A Year On Mercury?

Mercury has always been a fascinating site for research as the planet orbits so close to our sun. At it’s closest, the planet orbits 47 million km (29 million miles) and as far as 70 million km (43 million miles) from the sun. The planet itself has no atmosphere which causes for extreme fluctuations in it’s temperature; while most people think of Mercury as an extremely hot planet the temperature actually varies from 800 degrees Fahrenheit (430 degrees Celsius) to below -290 degrees Fahrenheit (-180 degrees Celsius).

How Long Is A Year On Mercury

It is equivalent to 88 earth years. The shortest orbit in our planet exhibits some unique characteristics that we’ll begin to explore. Find out how old you would be if you lived on Mercury, how long one day would be, and how the planet got it’s name in our article below.

A Strange Orbit

Mercury’s strange orbit is responsible for it’s duration of time. Because Mercury revolves around the sun so quickly (every 88 days) but rotates around it’s axis very slowly one day on Mercury is technically half the length of one year on Mercury.

What Is Your Age On Mercury?

Because of the rate in time-change we measure, our ages would be significanly effected if we lived on Mercury, or if we adjusted our clocks for their specific cycles. For instance, if you were born in 1988, you would be 121.7 on our innermost planet.

This picture was taken by MESSENGER. The MESSENGER spacecraft became only the second spacecraft in human history to swoop past Mercury. Credit: MESSENGER Teams, JHU APL, NASA

How Long Is One Day On Mercury?

Due to the strange orbit mentioned above, one day on Mercury is actually far longer than one year on the planet. Whereas its year is 88 earth days, its day (sunrise to sunrise) is equivalent to 58d 15h 30m here on Earth.

How Mercury Got It’s Name

The planet Mercury is named after the greek god Mercury, the god of commerce. Mercury was known as the ‘swiftest’ of the greek gods, and is therefore appropriately fit to the rapid orbit of the planet.

Mercury Fun Fact

If you were to stand on Mercury, our Sun would appear three times larger than it does here on Earth.

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Lauren Webber
Lauren studies astronomy and physics at NYU.