The planet will reach perihelion on Thursday, the point nearest to the sun in the path of the orbiting celestial body.
Mercury is poised to shine in Qatar’s skies on Thursday April 14, as it reaches the closest point in its orbit around the sun, the Qatar Calendar House (QCH) has announced.
The smallest planet in the solar system will be visible during the early morning hours of Thursday at 1:48 am Doha local time.
Dr Bashir Marzouq, an Astronomy Expert at QCH, stated that the phenomena can be observed by Qatar’s community on the western horizon of the sky of the Gulf nation using astronomical devices, such as telescopes, after sunset at 5:56 pm Doha local time until 6:52 pm, in areas away from light and environmental pollutants.
Perihelion is the position of closest approach, as in the shortest distance between the Sun and the planet. The term is derived from Greece and literally means around (peri) the sun (helios).
For Mercury, the perihelion precession of the planet is 5,600 arcseconds (1.5556°) per century relative to Earth.
Studies have indicated that the change in distance between Mercury and the sun makes the planet’s surface again twice the amount of solar energy when it’s located at the perihelion compared to the farther point from the sun, which is called the aphelion point.
The expert explained that the planet reaches the closest point in its orbit around the sun once every 88 days, which amounts to Mercury’s one complete full round around the sun. The last time it reached its perihelion was on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022, while it will reach it again Monday, July 11, 2022.
Known as one of the rocky and smallest planets in the solar system, Mercury is far from the sun by an average distance of 58 million km. It also has no natural satellites orbiting around it and has no atmosphere that protects it from solar storms and eruptions like the planet Earth.
The small plant has no moon of its own and revolves around the sun faster than all the other planets, which is why the Romans named it after their swift-footed messenger god.