Surface of Mercury. Computer artwork showing the surface of the planet Mercury with its thin atmosphere, and the Sun passing overhead. At its closest, Mercury is only 46 million kilometres from the Sun, less than a third of the Earth-Sun distance. The surface temperature extremes are the greatest in the solar system, ranging (day-night) from 400 to -170 degrees Celsius. Some of Mercury's atmosphere is captured material which streams off the Sun, while other gases are released by chemical processes on the planet's rocky surface.
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