The Rotation Rate of Mercury Term Paper

The Rotation Rate of Mercury
A description and explanation of an experiment that uses a sub radar post to measure the planet Mercury's speed of rotation.
# 153769 | 1,653 words | 6 sources | APA | 2008 | US
Published on Dec 16, 2013 in Astronomy (Physics) , Astronomy (The Solar System)

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The paper explains that the rotation rate of Mercury has long been difficult to explain, as it does not adhere to Newton's universal law of gravitation. The paper describes in detail how an experiment would correctly calculate the rate of rotation by using a radar pulse from earth. The paper provides the data and calculations of that data and clearly shows how Mercury's rotation is the most eccentric of all the planets in the solar system.

From the Paper:

"There are many unusual traits concerning the rotation of the planet Mercury. At one time, it was believed that Mercury always kept one face to the sun; much like the moon does in its relation to the earth (Seligman, 2008). However, Mercury actually rotates exactly one and a half times as it orbits the Earth (Seligman, 2008). This means that one side of Mercury faces the sun in one orbit, and the other side faces the sun during the following orbit. This means that a day on Mercury is twice as long as a Mercury year (Seligman, 2008). On Earth, the sun appears to rise in the east and set in the west. Due to Mercury moving so quickly at its perihelion, the sun appears to move westward, to then stop its motion in the sky, and then proceed to move and set in the east (Seligman, 2008).
"To correctly measure the rate of the rotation of Mercury, a radar pulse from Earth must be used. The pulse will rebound off Mercury and return to Earth so the frequencies can be measured (CLEA, 2008). Radar is necessary in the process due to Mercury being so close to the sun that it is not always easily viewable in the dark sky (CLEA, 2008). The pulse used is an electromagnetic radiation that rebounds off of Mercury."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Bakick, M. E. (2000). The Cambridge Planetary Handbook. The University of Cambridge Press.
  • Bennet, J., Donahue, M., Schneider, N. & Voit, M. (2007). The Essential Cosmic Perspective. Boston: Addison-Wesley.
  • CLEA. (2008). Radar Measurement of the Rotation Rate of Mercury. Pennsylvania: Gettysburg College Department of Psysics.
  • Sheehan, W. (1992). Worlds in the Sky Planetary Discovery from the Earliest Times. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.
  • Seligman, C. (2008). The rotation of mercury. Retrieved from

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

The Rotation Rate of Mercury (2013, December 16) Retrieved September 24, 2023, from

MLA Format

"The Rotation Rate of Mercury" 16 December 2013. Web. 24 September. 2023. <>