Descriptive Astronomy 101
Mercury Study Guide


After the "Mercury" lecture and readings you should be able to answer and discuss the following questions.

How long is the rotation and revolution of Mercury?

What is the difference between the daytime temperature and the nighttime temperature?

Why is there such a large difference between those two temperatures?

Compare the internal structure of Mercury to the internal structure of the Earth.

Why is the core of Mercury so large when compared to the radius of the planet?

What kind of atmosphere does Mercury have?

Why is it lacking in the heavier elements and compounds such as nitrogen, carbon dioxide, oxygen and water?

Mercury is most similar to which other celestial body in the Solar System?

What are the major differences between these two bodies?

Describe the small craters on Mercury. How are they different from lunar craters?

Describe the large craters and basins on Mercury.

What are smooth plains and how are they believed to have been formed?

What are intercrater plains and how are they believed to have been formed?

What is the hilly terrain and how is it believed to have been formed?

What are lobate scarps and how are they believed to have been formed?

List and describe the six stages of development in the planetary history of Mercury.

In a simple sense, two major thermal events describe the history of Mercury. These are 1) the early history of the planet is dominated by planetary ____________ and ____________, while 2) the latter history of the planet is dominated by planetary _____________ and ______________.