MERCURY IS NOT THE HOTTEST PLANET — A BREAKDOWN

in STEMGeeks8 months ago

And the award for hottest planet goes to...

Not Mercury.

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Shocking right? Do not fret readers, the truth shall soon be revealed.

A lot of us grew up with the notion that Mercury is the hottest planet, and who can blame us, it is the closest planet to the sun after all so it is only logical that it would be the hottest.

But the thing about space is that it doesn't always follow human logic.

The sun is not actually yellow,
It rains diamonds on Saturn,
Jupiter does not actually orbit the sun,
The closest planet to the sun is not the hottest planet...

These things sound crazy and illogical, but they actually make perfect sense and are backed up by science.

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Okay, so if Mercury is not the hottest planet then what is?
Let's go back to the award ceremony and find out.
The award for hottest planet goes to...

Venus.

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Yep, the hottest planet is actually the second closest planet to the sun.
Space is bonkers man.

Bhet why, why is Venus hotter?
To answer that question,
There are three things we must consider about Mercury and Venus.

•their orbits around the sun
•their atmosphere
•their magnetic Fields

Time for the breakdown.

But fun fact before we continue:
Did you know that Mercury and Venus were named after Roman gods with Mercury being the Roman god of speed and Venus being the Roman goddess of beauty and Love.

Now you know, so back to the show. (Hey that rhymed!)

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ORBITS
An orbit is a regular repeating path that an object takes around another object. The planets orbit the sun, the moon orbit the Earth and so on.
Now how does this affect the temperature of a planet?

Well, all planets have elliptical orbits.
That means their orbits are not perfectly round. It's more like an egg shape.

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This implies that at a point in its revolution, a.planet will be farther away from the sun than usual. which means less heat from the sun and thus lower temperature.

When a planet is closest to the sun during orbit, it's called perihelion.
When a planet is farthest from the sun during orbit, it's called up aphelion.

Now let's discuss the significance of orbits in the battle between the two planets.

MERCURY
Mercury has the most elliptical orbit of all the planets in the solar system, which means it gets really far away from the sun during aphelion.

At that point, it can cool by almost half, going from 430°C to 277°C. This significant cooling when it's far and heating up again when it's close makes the planets stay at a lower temperature than it should be.

VENUS
Ironically, more like Mercury, Venus has the least elliptical orbit of all the planets in the solar system. This means its aphelion is not really farther from the sun than its usual orbit.

So you'd get a constant and steady supply of heat from the sun. It doesn't cool down because it doesn't get far away.

WINNER; VENUS.

ATMOSPHERE
Basically an atmosphere keeps a planet warm through something called the greenhouse effect.

The simplest explanation of this phenomenon is that the sun sends heat to a planet, greenhouse gases in the atmosphere absorbs and traps that heat preventing it from escaping into space and thus warming the planet.

Time for round two.

MERCURY
Mercury has an extremely thin and basically negligible atmosphere which means any heat that comes from the sun doesn't get trapped and easily escapes back into space. In other words Mercury cannot retain heat.

VENUS
Venus on the other hand has an extremely thick atmosphere.
The entire planet is covered by dense layer of clouds 40 miles (64 kilometers) thick, and 95% of this is carbon dioxide which is a very effective greenhouse gas.

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This enables Venus to be able to trap ridiculous amount of heat and that keeps the planet warm.

WINNER; VENUS
Wow, Venus already won two rounds. Let's just do the third round for formality.

MAGNETIC FIELD

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A magnetic field is generated when a planet spins. The main purpose of a magnetic field is to deflect solar wind (stream of hot particles released by the sun). So the stronger a planet's magnetic field, the more solar wind it deflects and the less its temperature is affected.

The way solar wind affects the temperature of the planet is by eroding moisture in the atmosphere thereby leaving only greenhouse gases which traps heat.

MERCURY
Mercury has a magnetic field. Although it is weak, it does exist.
Which means a tangible amount of solar wind is deflected away from the planet.

And since Mercury doesn't have an atmosphere, there are really no significant changes to its brought about by any solar wind that gets through the magnetic field.
So the temperature stays relatively the same.

VENUS
Venus has no magnetic field.

If magnetic Fields were clothes, Venus would be stark naked, bare for all the solar wind to hit.

And that means all the moisture in the atmosphere would be stripped away leaving only massive amounts of carbon dioxide and thereby increasing temperature.

WINNER; VENUS

Well there you have it folks, Venus is the winner of all three rounds.
Now you understand why it took on the hottest planet award.

But even though Mercury lost the title, it is still pretty damn hot. The surface is hot enough to melt iron!

So make sure you put some respect on Mercury's name.

Space is weird and mysterious and we humans only understand the tip of the tip of the tip of the iceberg
But we are still learning and sooner than anyone expects... We'll start exploring.

What surprised you the most in this article?

Did you already know that Mercury was not the hottest planet?

What other weird space facts did you previously know?

Let me know below.
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Maximus✍🏾

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Another time for class. Asides from the arrangements of the planets from closest to the farthest from sun. I know not any of these other things.

That is Venus (3) - (0) Mercury total score. I used to think mercury is the hottest. But that is only logical anyway! 🤷

Astronomy is very interesting sir
Although it can nearly make a man go insane at times😂😂😂
This is just a tip of the iceberg

But we can both agree that venus won this match in style

Thank you for reading

I think Venus has a master team of the legends. Hence, she won! 😎

Thanks for putting this out.

I've spent over two decades on this planet and I didn't don't know this?! 🤦

Thanks man. This was really educating and funny. 😅😂

😂😂
Omo... Space can make you think you're crazy

Which is why you have to be crazier to understand it😂😂😂

Thanks for reading my guy🙌🏻

Diamonds on Saturn?

Please, how do I get to Saturn from Oshodi? 😅


Lovely piece

I like the sense of humour 🙌

And, oh well, I didn't know before before 🥲

😂😂😂😂
Omo
Me sef dey reason am

I once read that there's an asteroid that contains billions of tons of gold...

Why is it in space where no one can use it😭😭😭

I think I've seen motivation to be an astronaut 😂😂

Thanks for reading
And thanks for the kind words 😁😁🙌🏻

Na wa ooo

God for inform me when Him dey create this thing so that him go balance am well

How do you expect me to claim MY GOLD and MY DIAMONDS???

I don't like this ooo 😒😒😒

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