The definition of mercury is a heavy, silver-white metal with an atomic number of 80 that is liquid at ordinary temperatures.
Facts About Mercury As a Metal
- Its symbol is Hg, from the Latin hydrargyrum, meaning liquid silver.
- Its boiling point is over 356 degrees Celsius, and it freezes at around minus 38 degrees Celsius.
- It does not conduct heat very well, but is a fairly good conductor of electricity.
- It has high surface tension and breaks up when poured or spilled onto a flat area, forming small beads which move around quickly.
- It is used in thermometers because its expansion when heated is fairly constant, and in barometers because of its density.
- It can be easily absorbed into your body through the skin, lungs, or by ingesting it.
- You should never knowingly inhale or ingest mercury. Its vapor can be poisonous in concentrated amounts. It can: Damage your nervous system, cause brain and kidney damage, inhibit your immune system and lead to birth defects
- It was also known as quicksilver, because of its appearance and it is liquid. It is the only metal which is liquid at room temperature.
- Mercury was known to ancient civilizations including the Egyptians and the Chinese. It has been found in Egyptian tombs dating back to the second century B.C. Some thought it could heal and promote good health and used it as medicine.
- Medieval alchemists thought that mercury became gold when it was in a solid state.
An example of mercury is the silver-white metal inside of a thermometer that is liquid at room temperature.
The definition of Mercury is the closest planet to the sun.
Facts About Mercury the Planet
- Mercury is composed of an iron core which is at least partially molten. That is surrounded by a mantle, which is rocky, and a crust.
- The surface of Mercury resembles Earth’s moon because it has a layer of silicates which are tiny particles.
- There is no gravity to slow down meteoroids and no friction to burn them up, so the surface of Mercury is pocketed by craters.
- The largest crater on Mercury is called Caloris Basin and is 800 miles in diameter.
- There is ice made of water at Mercury’s poles in deep craters.
- Mercury has no moons or rings.
- It has no substantial atmosphere. There is some oxygen, helium, hydrogen, sodium, calcium and potassium.
- The orbit of Mercury around the sun is oval-shaped and ranges from 28.58 million miles to 48 million miles. It takes around 88 days to complete a single revolution around the Sun, faster than any other planet including Earth that takes 365 days to make the rotation.
- Mercury’s rotation on its axis is equal to about 58 Earth days.
- There are extreme fluctuations in the temperature on Mercury. Temperatures can reach 840 degrees F, or 450 degrees C. Out of the sun, the surface can cool to -275 degrees F, or -170 degrees C.
An example of Mercury is a planet which is a little larger than the Earth's moon.