Q:

What is the wind speed on Mercury?

A:

Quick Answer

Solar wind speeds on Mercury reach between 250 to 370 miles per second. The extreme wind speed that Mercury is subjected to is caused by a thin gas that contains electrically charged particles, called a plasma, which is released from the sun's surface.

  Know More

Full Answer

The solar wind on Mercury carries particles that slam into Mercury's exterior and carry enough energy to propel some atoms into ballistic paths that reach and replenish the planet's atmosphere. Massive magnetic tornadoes can develop on the surface of the planet when magnetic fields within the solar wind merge with Mercury's magnetic field. On Oct. 8, 2006, the unmanned MESSENGER spacecraft observed magnetic tornadoes on Mercury that were 500 miles in diameter, which is equal to one-third of the planet's radius.

Learn more about Planets

Related Questions

  • 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.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is Mercury's atmosphere made of?

    A:

    Mercury's atmosphere is primarily made up of oxygen, potassium, sodium, helium and hydrogen. The atmosphere on Mercury is made up of atoms that are launched from the planet's surface from micrometeoroid impacts and solar wind. The atmosphere or exosphere on Mercury is very thin, which means the planet receives large amounts of heat from the sun, making daytime hours very hot.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How far is Mercury from the sun?

    A:

    Mercury is between 28.5 million and 43.5 million miles away from the sun. The exact distance between the sun and Mercury at any given time depends on where Mercury is in its orbit; it does not orbit in a perfect circle.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    When was Mercury discovered?

    A:

    The planet Mercury was first observed by Sumerians, a group of people who lived in Mesopotamia from 3,500 B.C. to 2,000 B.C. Sumerians called the planet Enki.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore