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Mercury in Orbiter
Name Mercury
Reference body Sun
Number of satellites 0
Planetary mean orbits
Epoch J2000 (1 January 2000)
Semimajor axis (a) 0.38709893 AU
5.790917567×107 km)
Eccentricity (e) 0.20563069
Inclination (i) 7.00487°
(0.122258 radian)
Longitude of the ascending node (LAN, ☊) 48.33167°
(0.8436468 radian)
Longitude of periapsis (ϖ) 77.45645°
(1.351870 radian)
Mean longitude (L) 252.25084°
(4.402608 radian)
Planetary orbital element centennial rates
Semimajor axis (a) 0.00000066 AU/Century
Eccentricity (e) 0.00002527 Century-1
Inclination (i) -23.51 seconds/Century
Longitude of the ascending node (LAN, ☊) -446.30 seconds/Century
Longitude of periapsis (ϖ) 573.57 seconds/Century
Mean longitude (L) 538101628.29 seconds/Century
Selected physical parameters
Mean radius 2440 km
Mass 3.301880×1023 kg
Density 5.427 g/cm3
Sidereal rotation period 1407.509 hours
Sidereal orbit period 0.2408445 years
Magnitude V(1,0) -0.42
Geometric albedo 0.106
Equatorial gravity 3.701 m/s2
Escape velocity 4.435 km/s
Rotation elements
North pole right ascension (α1) 280.99°
North pole declination (δ1) 61.44°
Obliqutiy of ecliptic 7.01°
Longitude of Sun's transit 228.31°
Note *Elements given are from Orbiter.pdf (2016)

Mercury is the smallest planet in the solar system and is the closest to the sun. Mercury is a rocky planet appearing much like the moon and has virtually no atmosphere (none is modeled in Orbiter), and has no natural satellites.

Mercury was visited in 1974 and 1975 by Mariner 10 in two flybys and was again visited by MESSENGER spacecraft orbiting Mercury from 2011 to 2015 when it was deorbited. BepiColombo, a joint mission by the European Space Ageny (ESA) and Japan Aerospace Exploraation Agency (JAXA) was launched on 20 October 2018 and is scheduled to reach Mercury on 5 December 2025.

Orbital characteristics[edit]

Mercury is the innermost planet in the system with a semimajor axis of 5.79×107 km. But, the orbital eccentricity is the largest of all the planets, about 0.2056, its distance ranging from 46 million to almost 70 million km from the Sun, and the inclination of its orbit is just over 7°, also largest of all the planets.

Physical characteristics[edit]

Mercury's mean radius is 2440 km, smaller than Ganymede and Titan, but more massive at a bit more than 3.3×1023 kg.[1] Mercury is unique in the solar system in that it is tidally locked with the Sun in a 3:2 spin-orbit resonance; it rotates three times for each two orbits around the Sun, which means that one day on Mercury is two of its years.[1] It also has the smallest axial tilt with respect to its orbit, about 2 arcminutes.

Geological features[edit]

In Orbiter 2016, Mercury is modeled as a sphere with no elevations, but visually, it has a texture and approximately 300 named features on Mercury have been included in the stock Orbiter 2016, albedo features as well as craters, ridges, plains, escarpments, valleys, and one mountain.

See Geology of Mercury for list of features.

Notice to pilots[edit]

CAUTION! It is to be noted by pilots flying close to the ground at Mercury when approaching the North and South poles. If the vessel crosses either pole at low altitude and any great speed, errors in the simulator causes the scenario to freeze and may cause Crash to Desktop. However, if the pole is approached at very low speed, perhaps one or a few meters per second, the vessel can pass over and even land at the pole.


External links[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Orbiter.pdf (2016)

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