Mercury Planet Color: Explore Curious Solar System Facts For Kids!

Anusuya Mukherjee
Oct 31, 2023 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Dec 10, 2021
Until today only two robotic spacecraft have been able to make it to this unique gray planet

The dark gray color of the planet Mercury has always left a void of curiosity among scientists and astronauts.

Mercury is one of the planets in our solar system that is the closest to the sun. By studying the appearance, surfaces, its orbit around the sun, and its atmosphere, scientists have been able to get a lot of insight into our planet as well as other planets in the solar system.

All the planets in our solar system are known to have their colors according to what they're made of, how they absorb sunlight, and how their surfaces reflect light.

Mercury, the smallest planet in the solar system, has been observed and identified to have a gray and rocky surface that is covered fully with a layer of dust.

It is slighter bigger in size than the moon and is two times smaller than the Earth! It is in fact different from all other planets and not just Earth.

Mercury has a dull coloring compared to some colorful planets like the pale yellow Venus, reddish-brown Mars, or our colorful green and blue Earth.

The first recorded sighting of this unique planet was done through a telescope by Galileo Galilei and Thomas Harriet in the 17th century.

In ancient Greece, Mercury was referred to as 'Apollo' when it became visible in the sky as a morning star, right before sunrise, and just after sunset, it was called 'Hermes' for appearing as an evening star in the sky.

If you flew over or around the planet for a good amount of time, you'd find that Mercury's surface is just full of gray textures with some occasional light patches here and there.

When you first look at this rocky planet, the planet's surface looks very similar to the terrain of the moon's surface.

However, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) says that this is not the case as Mercury's surface is far denser, having a metallic iron core that makes up roughly 61% of its full volume!

Mercury has both the smallest and fastest orbit around the sun, the atmosphere experiencing some drastic temperature changes.

Being the closest planet to the sun, it has a thin atmosphere, a very high-temperature range, and almost no air pressure but surprisingly, it's not the hottest planet considering its close proximity to the sun!

Until today only two robotic spacecraft have been able to make it to this unique gray planet - Mariner 10 which was launched in 1973 and MESSENGER spacecraft which was launched by NASA in 2004 and made into Mercury's orbit in the year 2011.

The Mariner 10 was able to capture only 45% of Mercury's image while the Messenger spacecraft was able to provide more details as it flew around Mercury three times and was in orbit for four years before it crashed to its surface towards the end of its mission.

According to NASA, the surface-bound exosphere of Mercury contains 6% helium, 29% sodium, 22% hydrogen, 42% oxygen, 0.5% potassium, and trace amounts of carbon dioxide, water, krypton, neon, and nitrogen.

In 2012, the MESSENGER spacecraft discovered water ice in the craters of the planet, and another fun fact, there is no liquid water on the Mercury! Further observations from the MESSENGER showed that the planet's magnetic field was roughly three times stronger at the planet's northern hemisphere than at its southern hemisphere.

One scientist proposed a model that explained that Mercury must have an iron core that may turn from liquid to solid at the core's outer part than its inner part.

Earlier in time, scientists and experts thought Mercury was gray because of the iron present on the planet due to the similar color it shares with the moon, where iron is accountable for its color.

Experts from NASA, after extensive research and data collected from the MESSENGER on this phenomenal planet, went on to refute the previously held thought and say that the main reason why Mercury's true color is gray is due to a carbon-rich material called graphite (found in pencils too!)

that coats the planet, giving it its gray color.

Mercury has been observed to have no moon!

Our world today experiences a crisis in almost every area, be it the environment, water, flora, and fauna, or the climate and this is the same case with the planets in our solar system too.

Over the years, we have sent in so many satellites and spaceships into space, that currently there is quite a lot of debris and waste materials in the orbit of not only our planet but also other planets too.

This will not serve us well in the long run so it is essential to raise awareness of this issue too.

If you enjoy this article on Mercury planet's color, be sure to check out our other articles on moth dust fun facts for kids or moonbow interesting facts that you are sure to enjoy!

Seven Interesting Facts About Mercury

Mercury, the planet that is closest to the sun, has been studied in as much detail as possible by multiple spacecraft like the MESSENGER and the Mariner 10 which were both sent into space by NASA.

Among all other nine planets in our solar system, Mercury is a planet that has been known to many civilizations since ancient times. The precise date is not known but this planet was believed to have been observed around 3000 BC by the Sumerians.

The first and proper sighting of Mercury was done by Galileo Galilei and Thomas Harriet in 17th century Greece!

Mercury is a planet that has a large iron core that makes up about 64% of its volume and scientists further believe that the inner metallic core of the planet is molten or in liquid form.

The true color of this planet is gray and the reason behind this color is due to the presence of a carbon-rich material called graphite.

The MESSENGER, before crashing to Mercury's surface, was able to capture some images and data. From this data, scientists recognized a lot of neurons leaving the dark patches of Mercury which indicated a carbon material called graphite.

Another difference between Mercury and other planets in the solar system is that Mercury has no rings or any moons!

This is again due to its closeness to the sun. It is also a planet whose appearance is covered with loads of craters and impact marks.

Mercury is a planet that has a very small tilt to its axis, rotating almost vertically!

Which color is the planet Mercury?

Mercury's true color is dark gray in color. Thus, the gray color is due to the fact that Mercury has the presence of a specific carbon-rich material called graphite, and furthermore, it has a molten metallic inner core of iron.

There is a concept called 'Vedic astrology' that started and developed in India and its significance has existed even before modern science came into the picture.

Vedic astrology aims at providing astrological remedies in the form of antidotes that remove all the negative impacts of the planets or any other components from your life and has become very popular in western countries too.

The normal or visible light that we can see is a combination of seven colors called violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red.

Your science teacher would often refer to these seven colors as 'VIBGYOR'- a short form for indicating these colors. In astrological remedies, the sun is the driver of energy from which all the waves of color originate.

The nine planets or the 'Navagrahas' are the reflectors of the rays of all those different colors.

The color of the sun is a mix of red and orange. The moon that belongs to the Earth is pale white as it reflects the color of the sun's orangish-red rays.

Mars is red in color as it tends to reflect the yellow rays of the sun. Mercury is green in color as it reflects the sun's green rays.

Jupiter takes on an orangish-yellow color as it mostly reflects the blue rays of the spectrum.

Saturn reflects the violet rays of the sun so it has more of black color. This whole concept is so interesting which is why it has attracted many people who just want to try and see if this works in their life or not!

What does Mercury's landscape look like?

Mercury's surface is covered with lots of crater and impact marks, making it the only planet in our solar system with the most marks on it. In addition to their severely marked surface, they also have regions of relatively smooth plains.

This planet's surface is covered with an atmosphere that is quite thin.

The thin atmosphere makes it extremely difficult to scatter light and hence, Mercury's sky is almost black, a big difference when compared to the appearance of our Earth's vibrant blue sky! Mercury also shares a slight resemblance with our Earth's moon.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! if you liked our suggestions for facts about Mercury planet color then why not take a look at trees are plants or whether tree frogs are poisonous?

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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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