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Posted On: 18 October 2021 11:22 am
Updated On: 18 October 2021 11:28 am

Mercury reaches its closest point to the sun in the Qatar sky on Wednesday

Vrinda Abilash
Vrinda Abilash
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The Qatar Calendar House announced that the smallest planet of the solar system, Mercury, will reach the closest point in its orbit around the sun, the perihelion point, during the early morning hours of Wednesday, Rabi` al-Awwal 14, 1443 AH, corresponding to 20 October 2021 AD, at 2:51 am Doha local time, when Mercury will be at a distance of approximately 46 million km from the center of the sun, and a difference of 24 million km from what it was on Tuesday, September 7, knowing that Mercury was then at a distance of 70 million km approximately from the center of the sun, which is the farthest point Mercury reaches from the sun (the apogee).

Dr. Bashir Marzouk, an astronomer expert at the Qatar Calendar House, stated that the residents of the State of Qatar can observe the planet Mercury at dawn on Wednesday, above the eastern horizon with the naked eye or using astronomical devices, after the date of the sunrise of the planet Mercury on the sky of Qatar at 4:23 am local time. And even before sunrise on Wednesday, taking into account the presence in areas away from light and environmental pollutants during monitoring.

Astronomical studies indicate that the significant change in the distance between the location of Mercury and the sun when Mercury reaches the apogee and perihelion points, makes the surface of Mercury gain a double amount of solar energy when it is located at the closest point to the sun (perihelion) compared to the amount of solar energy that Mercury gains when it falls at the farthest point from the sun (the apogee).

Marzouk pointed out that the planet Mercury reaches the closest point in its orbit around the sun once every 88 days, which is the period during which Mercury completes a complete revolution around the sun, as it reached the closest point on Saturday, July 24, 2021 AD, while it will reach it again on Sunday, January 16, 2022 AD.

It is mentioned that the planet Mercury, like other planets of our solar system, revolves around the sun in an elliptical orbit (ellipse), and the sun is in one of the two foci of this orbit. Far from the sun is called apogee.

It should be noted that Mercury is one of the rocky planets in our solar system, in addition to being the closest planet to the sun, with an average distance of 58 million kilometers from it.

Source and cover image: QNA