Q:

How long is a year on Mercury?

A:

A year on the planet Mercury is the equivalent of 87.97 Earth days. It orbits the sun approximately four times for every year on Earth.

Know More

Full Answer

Mercury is the closest planet to the sun and has a shorter orbit than Earth. It rotates much slower, however, with each day lasting the equivalent to 58.65 Earth days.

The average distance to the sun is about 36 million miles, but this distance varies. Sometimes Mercury gets as close as 28 million miles from the sun while at other times it is 43 million miles away. This means that the orbit speed varies, depending on how close to the sun the planet is. Just before Mercury reaches its maximum orbit speed, that speed and its rotational speed become aligned. This gives the appearance of a static sun. Then, for a period of 8 days, Mercury orbits faster than it rotates. This makes it look as though the sun is going backwards in the sky.

Mercury's year is the shortest of all the planets in the solar system. Earth's is 365 days, while on Mars a year takes 687 Earth days. Neptune has the longest year. It takes more than 164 Earth years to orbit the sun.

Learn more in Planets

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How did Mercury get its name?

    A:

    The planet Mercury derived its name from the Roman god Mercury by virtue of being the fastest planet that travels across the sky. Due to Mercury's proximity to the sun, the planet is able to revolve quickly around the massive heavenly body. The Romans likened and named the planet after their swift-footed god, who is often portrayed in Roman mythology as a lad wearing winged sandals and a winged hat, and holding a caduceus.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Can life exist on Mercury?

    A:

    Universe Today describes the planet Mercury as a barren, lifeless rock that cannot support life. Among other conditions necessary for the formation and sustainability of life, liquid water is necessary. While scientists have found evidence of liquid water on a few parts of Mercury, the planet remains inhospitable to life.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is Mercury's period of revolution?

    A:

    Mercury takes 87.97 Earth days to revolve around the sun, which is approximately one quarter of the length of a year on Earth. In contrast, it takes 59 Earth days for a single day to pass on Mercury.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How big is Mercury?

    A:

    Mercury has a radius of 2,439.7 kilometers, making it smaller than some moons and the smallest planet in the solar system. Its mass is equal to 0.055 of Earth's.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore