Mercury was officially observed for the first time 2,200 years ago. However, we still know very little about this planet compared to other more “popular” planets of our solar system. Mercury is rarely visible. As such, it has always been difficult for astronomers to observe it through a telescope. Due to its proximity to the sun, viewing Mercury faces an additional challenge. Regardless of its position in the solar system, many consider Mercury one of the most attractive planets. Curious to know more? Read these 25 Amazing But True Facts About the Planet Mercury.  Last Updated on November 27, 2019

Named after Hermes

The planet was named after the Greek god, Hermes, whom the Romans worshiped as well and called Mercury. Hermes was known for being the messenger of the gods.

One of the Five Original Planets

Mercury was one of the five “original” planets. Along with Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, Mercury is visible from Earth with the naked eye. As such, it was mentioned as early as the second millennium BC by the Sumerians; the Babylonians called the planet Nabu. The first officially recorded observation of the planet was made by a Greek astronomer named Timocharis in 265 BC. The Greeks called the planet Apollo during the day and Hermes during the evening.

The Closest Planet to the Sun

You already knew this, but we’re going to say it anyway. Mercury has the honor of being the closest planet to the sun. As a result, the rays from the sun that hit Mercury are seven times more powerful than those that reach our planet. In other words, Mercury’s not the best place to get a safe tan. 

Smallest Planet in the Solar System

Mercury is also the smallest planet in the solar system. It has a diameter of 4,879 kilometers. For the record, Pluto’s equatorial diameter is just 2,302 kilometers, about half Mercury’s width, but it’s not considered a major planet anymore.

The Second Most Dense Planet

Despite its very small size, Mercury is very dense. This is because it’s composed mainly of heavy metals and rock. In fact, Mercury is the second most dense planet in our solar system. The densest planet happens to be Earth.
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