This is a false color image of a mosaic of Mercury.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA.
Observations of Mercury from Earth
Prior to the Mariner 10 mission of Mercury, it was very difficult to
see any markings on the surface of the planet from Earth. This image
shows a view of Mercury obtained from a telescope on Earth. Initial
attempts to find out the rotation rate of the planet found an 88 earth-day
rotation period, equal to the orbital period, or year length. It was only in the
1960s, when a radar technique allowed the rotation rate to be
determined, we found that Mercury spins on its axis every 59
Earth days. But the length of a day on Mercury is about three times
this. To find out why, click the link below.
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