Mercury is the closest planet to the sun and the smallest planet in our solar system. With a diameter of about 3,032 miles (4,880 kilometers), the planet is less than half the size of Earth, which is about 7,926 miles (12,756 km) in diameter. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in speed: It orbits the sun faster than any other planet in the solar system.
All About Mercury
The planet is named after the Roman deity Mercury, the speedy messenger of the gods, who was the Roman equivalent of the Greek god Hermes. The planet orbits our sun every 88 days — faster than any other planet in the solar system — and a year there is less than three Earth months. This swift orbit inspired the ancient Romans to associate the small planet with the god, according to Cool Cosmos (opens in new tab), a website run by the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology, while the ancient Greeks associated the planet with Hermes, according to the European Southern Observatory (opens in new tab).
It’s is visible in the night sky without a telescope and has been known to humans around the world for thousands of years. The Sumerians made one of the earliest known records of the planet in around 3,000 B.C., according to Cool Cosmos (opens in new tab).
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