What planet is closest to the sun ?
The planets of the solar system were formed billions of years ago in the disk of gas, dust and rocks that orbited the Sun. The eight planets in our solar system are all located at different distances from our star. Let’s discover some of the characteristics of the closest planet to the Sun.
Which planet is at the closest distance to the Sun?
The closest planet to the Sun is Mercury. It orbits the Sun at a distance of only 58 million kilometers. For comparison, the Earth is about 150 million km from the Sun. This means that if a person were to walk on Mercury, the Sun would appear 3 times larger in the sky and would be much brighter.
Mercury’s proximity to the Sun has many other effects on this small planet:
One of the hottest planets in the solar system
The proximity of the Sun causes extreme heat. The average temperature on Mercury is around 450 degrees Celsius. Although Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, it is the planet Venus that holds the title of hottest planet in the Solar System.
The extreme heat and radiation on this planet means that the chances of discovering life on Mercury are zero.
The smallest planet in the solar system
Mercury holds the official status of the smallest planet in the solar system. Since Pluto is no longer considered a planet, Mercury now holds this very special position. With a diameter of only 4,878 km, the tiny planet Mercury is barely larger than our Moon.
Mercury’s rotation around the Sun
Because of its proximity to the Sun, Mercury rotates extremely fast around the Sun. It takes Mercury only 88 Earth days to complete one complete rotation around our star. In other words, a year on Mercury lasts 88 days.
The length of a day on Mercury
On the other hand, since Mercury is so close to the Sun, its rotation speed is very slow. Mercury has the longest days of all the planets in the solar system. One day on Mercury corresponds to about 58.6 days on Earth.
The closer an object is to a more massive celestial body, the more likely it is that its rotation will be synchronized with the massive body around which it orbits.
On one day, the planet Mercury will take 88 days to rotate on itself, the same number of days it takes to make a complete revolution around the Sun.
Closest planet to the Sun? Conclusion
Mercury certainly conceals many other mysteries to discover. Nevertheless, its proximity to the Sun makes its exploration difficult. The extreme temperatures that prevail at this distance are a colossal challenge to overcome. The other challenge is also the intense gravitational force of the Sun which causes an acceleration of the probes traveling towards Mercury. The satellites sent must therefore slow down progressively to avoid literally missing their approach and crashing on the surface of Mercury.