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Mercury, the Speedy Planet



Mercury, the Speedy Planet
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.51

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    probe, revolution, atmosphere, orbit, credit, core, rotate, gravity, magnetic, however, inner, photo, nearly, crashed, poles, friction
     content words:    But Mercury


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Mercury, the Speedy Planet
By Cindy Grigg
  

1     Photo credit: NASA. Comparing the size of the four inner planets, from left to right: Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.
 
2     Mercury is our smallest planet. It is a little larger than Earth's moon and only about one-third the size of Earth. Mercury's smaller size means it has less gravity than Earth does. If you weigh one hundred pounds on Earth, you would only weigh thirty-eight pounds on Mercury.
 
3     Each planet moves around the sun in a path called an orbit. The time it takes a planet to make one orbit or revolution around the sun is called a year. Earth makes one orbit in about 365 days, a year on Earth. Mercury's year is only 88 days. Mercury is the speediest planet, orbiting at a speed of about 106,000 mph! Mercury was named for a Roman god. The Roman god Mercury was a speedy messenger, usually depicted with a winged hat and wearing sandals with wings so he could fly. Because the planet Mercury crossed the night sky so quickly, it was given this name.

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