CHRIS BUTLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CHRIS BUTLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mercury and the Sun, artwork. The planet Mercury (upper right) is seen partially illuminated by the Sun (lower left). Earth (blue dot, far right) and Venus (yellow dot, between Mercury and the Sun) are also shown. Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, a 58-million-kilometres distance average, less than half the distance of Earth from the Sun. Its 4880-kilometre-diameter is less than half the size of the Earth. Mercury is a rocky planet that orbits the Sun in 88 Earth days. With a rotational period of 59 Earth days, it rotates three times in two of its years, with a sunrise every two Mercury years. Its temperatures range from 400 degrees Celsius (day) to -170 degrees Celsius (night).
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