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.
September 20, 1987 |
Scientists probing Mercury's surface with radio waves now believe that the closest planet to the sun has a hot equator but no internal heat source, as previously thought. They have no clues as to what makes up the interior of Mercury. Last year, the astronomers, from the University of New Mexico and the Los Alamos National Laboratory, probed Mercury with radio wave-emitting equipment. They found that Mercury's erratic orbit, which swings it from 28.5 million miles to 43.
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."