Posted on May 24, 2019

Mercury, the smallest planet in the solar system, will reach its nearest point to the Sun on its orbit (perihelion) on Friday, May 24, at 10.18am local time, Qatar Calendar house (QCH) has said.

During the phenomenon, Mercury will be 46 million kilometresaway from the Sun’s centre, while it was at 70 million kilometres from the Sun’s centre on April 10, according to QCH. Mercury reaches its aphelion point (farthest point from Sun) once in every 88 days, and the last such event was on February 25, 2019. It will reach the perihelion point again on August 20, 2019, said Dr. Beshir Marzouk, expert astronomer at QCH.

Mercury moves on its orbit around Sun on an elliptical orbit, so its distance from Sun’s centre varies. Mercury’s distance from Sun’s centre is 46 million kilometres at perihelion, while it will be 70 million kilometres at aphelion. The average distance between Mercury and Sun is approximately 58 million kilometres. So, Mercury’s surface receives twice as much energy from Sun at the perihelion point, compared with the aphelion point. “Residents of Qatar will not have a chance to observe Mercury on Friday as it will be very close to Sun. Moreover, the set time of Mercury over Qatar sky will be 6.35 pm local time, while the sunset will be at 6.18pm,” Dr Marzouk added.

source: Qatar Tribune