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Mercury/Tail

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Solar System Scratchpad

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Mercury

A tail of atoms escaping from Mercury's gravity due to irradiation by the Sun. Its composition and intensity varies by season. Comprised mostly of Sodium, but Calcium has also been detected. Its length was much diminished during Messenger's third flyby as Mercury was traveling at a different speed along its orbit than it was during the first two flybys. Earthbased observations show that the tail extends more than a thousand planetary radii.

Mercury/Tail Web Pages

Mercury/Tail In the News

Magnesium Detected in Mercury's Atmosphere (May 2009)

See Mercury/Atmosphere, Mercury/Tail, Mercury/Magnesium, Mercury/Calcium, Mercury/Sodium, Mercury/Iron, Mercury/Aluminum, Mercury/Silicon

Ion Emissions and Unusual Distribution in Exosphere Detected

See Mercury/Exosphere, Mercury/Ion Emissions, Mercury/Tail, Mercury/Sodium, Mercury/Calcium, Mercury/Magnesium

Messenger Enters Orbit

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