May 5, 2007 |
Researchers have cracked a mystery at the core of Mercury -- and say there's molten fluid inside the tiny planet. The finding, reported Friday in the journal Science, helps explain the discovery decades ago that Mercury has a small magnetic field. The discovery by the Mariner 10 spacecraft puzzled scientists, who believed that because of its small size the planet's core had long ago solidified.
June 28, 2003 |
Japan and the European Space Agency are planning a joint mission that would be the first to land a probe on Mercury. Three probes would map the topography and study the origins of the closest planet to the sun. Russian Soyuz rockets are expected to launch the probes starting in 2010. They would reach Mercury about four years later, with one probe landing on the planet and the other two orbiting and charting its surface for a year.
January 19, 2008 |
Scientists poring over their first close-up data from Mercury in almost 33 years say they're delighted by some new discoveries and astonished by the remarkably sharp view of the planet captured by NASA's Messenger spacecraft during its flyby earlier this week. "We're just jumping up and down as each new image gets examined and new data comes down," said Messenger's principal investigator, Sean Solomon of the Carnegie Institution in Washington.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 1, 1999
Mercury makes a rare appearance in the evening sky. Look for it during evening twilight at about 8:40 in line with the crescent moon and Venus, and almost twice as far from Venus as Venus is from the moon. Use binoculars. This little planet stays near the sun and is never visible very late into the evening. Mercury is 12 degrees high at 8:40 and sets at 9:45. It remains visible through the end of the month. * Source: John Mosley, Griffith Observatory
November 4, 2006 |
Mercury will transit, or pass across the face of, the sun Wednesday, an event that happens about 12 times per century. Because the planet is so small compared with the sun, it will appear only 0.5% as wide. But observers using a small telescope equipped with a solar filter should find Mercury's dark profile readily distinguishable from lighter sunspots. The transit begins at 11:12 a.m. PST and can be viewed live online at www.exploratorium.edu/transit.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 11, 1991 |
New evidence suggests Mercury has a north pole ice cap formed by "snow" on the planet closest to the sun, according to findings presented last week by scientists surprised by their own discovery. "The general reaction . . . was 'Oh, my God, that can't be ice, can it?' " said Caltech planetary scientist Duane Muhleman at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in San Francisco. "But once you think about it and do the analysis it makes perfect sense."