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Pink Planet in Sky: Mercury Visible Through February at Sunset (PHOTO, VIDEO)

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By Jon Campbell , Christian Post Contributor
February 12, 2013|2:01 pm
  • This NASA graphic shows the location of the crescent moon, Mars and the planet Mercury.
    (Photo: NASA/JPL)
    This NASA graphic shows the location of the crescent moon, Mars and the planet Mercury.

A pink planet will be seen in the sky this month, and is sure to delight sky-gazers across the globe.

However, the pink object will not be a newly found planet, but will in fact be Mercury - the closest planet to the Sun.

NASA's scientists have confirmed that Mercury will be making a special appearance in the skies this month, and should be able to be seen as a bright pink dot low in the skyline.

The pink planet was first able to be seen on Feb. 8, and it should remain visible in favorable conditions until Feb. 21.

Scientists have recommended that sky-gazers look to the skies about 30 minutes after sunset. They have said that if the skies are clear at that time then the tiny pink dot should be visible near the horizon where the sun's fading glow is the strongest.

Mercury, of course is not actually a pink planet, but the sunlight hitting it will give that pink illusion during this period.

NASA scientists have confirmed that from Feb. 11 the pink planet will remain visible for even longer, and as long as an hour after sunset.

For those with telescopes Mars should also be making an appearance and should be visible just below Mercury, in what should be an amazing sight for sky-gazers.

Mercury is the innermost planet in our Solar System, and is also the smallest. Its orbit is the most eccentric (that is, the least perfectly circular) of the eight planets.

The tiny planet orbits the Sun once every 88 Earth days, completing three rotations about its axis for every two orbits. The planet is named after the Roman god, Mercury, the messenger to the gods.

Mercury's surface is heavily cratered and similar in appearance to Earth's Moon, indicating that it has been geologically inactive for billions of years.

Due to its near lack of an atmosphere to retain heat, Mercury's surface experiences the steepest temperature gradient of all the planets, ranging from a very cold 100 K at night to a very hot 700 K during the day.

Mercury's axis has the smallest tilt of any of the Solar System's planets, but Mercury's orbital eccentricity is the largest.

The seasons on the planet's surface are caused by the variation of its distance from the Sun rather than by the axial tilt, which is the main cause of seasons on Earth and other planets.

Here is a video about the planet Mercury:

 

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