Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun. We know less about this world than
any other planet except Pluto – which is furthest from the
only been visited by one space probe. It is an extremely hot and virtually
airless world. It rotates very slowly which gives the Sun a long time to
warm up various parts of Mercury while other parts become extremely cold.
Mercury is similar to our Moon in many ways and is only slightly larger than
it. Its surface is covered in craters – most of volcanic origin. Its mass is
so low that it is thought to be theoretically impossible for this planet to
retain a permanent atmosphere of any substance. Mercury’s atmosphere is
virtually nonexistent. There are no clouds on Mercury. There are no dust
storms either. There are no cold winds on Mercury.
Magnetic Field Mysteries
In this age of computers and satellites, we still do not know how the
magnetic field of the Earth or any other planet is generated. The
theory has its origins in the molten core idea. One thing we do know about
the Earth’s magnetic field is that it originates at the
centre of the Earth.
It is said that convection currents in the molten core generate the magnetic
field. It follows that since the Earth rotates, the molten core also
rotates. If the core is generating the magnetic field, then the magnetic
field’s north and south magnetic poles should coincide with the Earth’s north
and south geographic poles. This also holds true for any other planets. If
this explanation is true, then a planet can only have a magnetic field when
the following conditions are satisfied:
1) The planet must be hot enough to
have molten core
2) It must rotate fast enough to generate a magnetic
Scientists get their fair share of unexpected surprises. It was so in
the case of Mercury when it turned out to have a magnetic fieldin spite of
its slow rotation and in spite of it possibly not having a molten core.
The Earth’s magnetic field is tilted 11 degrees away from its axis of
rotation. Many other planetary fields are tilted anomalously. Some
scientists admit there are problems with the dynamo theory:
“At present. . .
scientists have only one surviving theory for the origin of planetary
magnetic fields. . . the dynamo theory. Akasofu notes, however, that since a
planet’s rotation is such an important source of energy for its dynamo, the
observed large tilts of planetary magnetic fields with respect to their
rotation axes pose ‘a great puzzle’”.
William Metz commented:
“Because Mercury rotates slowly (once in 58.6 days)
and emits no radio emissions that can be detected from the Earth, the early
evidence for a magnetic field was surprising…”
Metz was surprised that the
magnetic field was off-centre by a staggering 47% of the radius of the
planet, while being inclined at 10 degrees to the planet’s poles.
Is Mercury’s magnetic field generated by an
Inner Sun which orbits
approximately 700 miles away from the planet’s centre? If an Inner Sun were
to be a reality, we would not know exactly how it is held in place in the
centre of the planet. It might even move – or sway – as the planet speeds up
and slows down. On the other hand, perhaps one cannot be exactly certain of
its position since Mercury possesses excess iron and perhaps this distorts
the resultant magnetic field. There would have to be some kind of repulsive
force which prevents such a Central Sun from crashing into the side of a
Hollow Planet. Perhaps the magnetic field which such an Inner Sun generates
is itself part of the mechanism which helps to hold it in its place.
The tips, or ‘horns’ of a crescent are also know as the ‘cusps’. Both
Mercury and Venus suffer from the “blunted cusp” phenomenon.
Venus, both being closer to the Sun than the
Earth, are the only two other
planets in the solar system which go through phases similar to the Moon when
viewed from Earth. Both of them on odd occasions present us with a blunted
cusp. It would seem that the planet is “dented” at this point. This “dent”
in the planet is causing the blunted cusp effect. What is causing such a
dent? In the case of Venus, I suspect the presence of a gigantic hole in the
crust which is causing the atmosphere to be sucked into the centre of the
planet. This dent may have a temporary effect on the planet’s cloud cover.
Mercury has no detectable atmosphere which covers the planet, yet
has a similar hole in its crust or perhaps dust-laden air escapes by way of
a smallish hole to create this effect?
While many have suggested that Mercury’s blunted cusp is due to a dark area
on the ground, there are others who have dismissed it as an optical
illusion. Mercury has almost no atmosphere. How can an optical illusion
occur on such a grand scale when there’s no atmosphere to cause it? Why is
the South Pole mainly affected? And why is the region exceptionally bright
on some occasions? It is noteworthy that the phenomenon occurs at both
poles, but most often at the southern pole. This suggests that we’re dealing
with a real phenomenon rather than a mere optical illusion.
Ice Cubes in Hell
There may be another indication that Mercuryhas an atmosphere inside it.
Where does the ice come from which was found at its poles? And is it as old
as scientists say it is? Various scientists and writers have pointed out
that the temperature at the Mercurian equator reaches a staggering 800
degrees F. This, they argue, should cause Mercury to been “baked bone dry”.
Mariner 10 had also found no evidence of water on Mercury in 1974. This
changed due to a surprise announcement in 1991. Scientists were amazed when
their very powerful Earth-based radar revealed a highly reflective patch at
Mercury’s North Pole. Since ice reflects very well it was thought that this
was caused by ice. Calculations showed that this was possible. The polar
temperatures on Mercury can plunge to –235 degrees F. on its polar night
side. It was thus thought that some water vapor in the planet’s thin
atmosphere might freeze in the polar regions thereby creating ice or frost
caps. The ice patch was estimated to be 640 X 300 Km in size. One UCLA
planetary scientist commented: “It’s like finding snowballs in hell.” But
the radar echoes from these patches were definitely characteristic of ice.
Many observers have noticed the existence and movement of bright spots all
over Mercury’s surface, including its polar regions. Could these bright
areas be snow, or water-vapor bearing clouds or a combination of the above?
The idea of water-vapor being in the air coming out of Mercury must seem
strange. It would indicate that the temperature inside Mercury is at least
above freezing point. This air could of course freeze as it exits on to the
outside of the planet. This depends of course on the exact point it is
exiting from. Assuming that this exit point is not exactly at the South
Pole, one would expect ice to only form when this point lies in darkness, in
the extreme cold of the night or when this air blows towards the night side
of the planet. It would be evaporated during the next Mercurian day (in
several weeks time). Only the ice in polar crater floors would be able to
survive for long periods of time. The interior of a hollow Mercury would
surely be exceptionally cold since it never receives direct sunlight. If air
exits out of Mercury containing water vapor, then this indicates the
presence of a heat source inside Mercury. No matter how hot Mercury is on
the day side, it is unlikely that this heat could filter through the thick
crust to warm the interior. Hence Mercury must have an Inner source of heat.
This Inner source of heat might well be the same thing that produces its
magnetic field. Does this imply that Mercury has an inner Sun?
The constant changes in the Mercurian polar regions clearly indicate that
something enormous is happening there. At one moment the entire polar region
disappears and cannot be viewed (blunted cusps) and at other times these
regions become exceptionally bright. This seems to have been ignored by
professional astronomers. Perhaps it is time someone just stood up and
challenged all this theory for once and for all.
The Ring and The Spot
Mercury sometimes passes directly between the Earth and the
Sun. This is
known as a transit. These transits are to be observed only in May and
November. As Mercury creeps across the Sun’s face, it is usually a vivid
black, but on occasion a bright spot appears just south of the planet’s
center. A halo of bright light around the black disk is sometimes seen too.
The halo may accompany the bright spot, but not always, and vice versa. One,
rarely two, small bright points of light are seen on the black disk of
Mercury as it transits the Sun. Sometimes, the spot appears greyish. It is
rarely centered, being mostly south of the center of the disk. In 1878 in
the “Scientific American", there was an article with the strange title: Is
There A Hole Through Mercury? It seems this bright spot had caught the
attention of astronomers of that time and the idea had been suggested that
there is a hole which goes right through Mercury. This hole is only visible
when Mercury is in the process of transiting across the Sun. With the Sun
behind it, one would then be able to see this bright spot – which would be
the result of the Sun shining directly through the planet.
My own investigations into the spot are inconclusive. There are many
accounts of this spot – and how it moves. My attempts at correlating the
spot with a physical feature (based on the planet’s period of rotation being
58.6 days) have been unsuccessful. The possibility may exist that one is not
seeing the Sun, but perhaps the Inner Sun of Mercury.
The ring around Mercury also should not be appearing. It too is regarded as
an optical illusion, yet it may not be. The supporting evidence I have
presented here strongly suggests that Mercury does indeed have a temporary
atmosphere. In that case, a ring around the planet is to be expected. The
ring is merely the result of the Sun’s light passing through the atmosphere.
Air Conditioning on Mercury
Scientists often compare Mercury and the Moon and have good reason to expect
them to behave similarly. Calculations had shown that if the Moon were
placed at the same distance from the Sun as Mercury then its average
temperature would be 350 degrees K. (77 degrees C.). This would vary by 200
degrees K. as it orbits the Sun. From 16 July 1965 to 17 October 1965
studied Mercury’s temperature. To their amazement they found that even
though their observations covered an almost complete revolution of Mercury,
there was no significant temperature variation with phase and that Mercury
was abnormally cool. When one examines the graph which shows the phase of
Mercury versus the measured temperatures, then a number of anomalous
incidents become apparent.
At times when the illuminated portion was small,
the temperatures suddenly jumped from the 200 – 300 degree K. range up to
500 degrees K. And at times when the illuminated portion was large, the
temperature rose and fell strangely. For example, early in September the
temperature is recorded as 150 degrees K. Later in September it jumps to 400
degrees K. Early in October it falls down to about 70 degrees K. and then
within a week it rises to about 230 degrees K. The September and October
incidents took place when the phase was between 0.8 and 1.0 (1.0 = fully
illuminated). During this period the temperature should be rising steadily,
but it did not. I wonder whether this could be caused by the presence of
cold winds and ice from the interior and their disappearance later which
then allows the planet to start heating up again.
It seems logical that a Mercurian inner atmosphere, being shielded from the
Sun, might be cooler than the outer surface. And if the inner atmosphere is
from time to time excited by an inner Sun it might flow out on to the
surface for a time. We should then find that these winds will absorb some of
the enormous outer heat and help to cool down the sunlit side of Mercury.
This might explain why Mercury was so much cooler than it should have been –
for the period under observation. At other times, when there is no exchange
of air between the inner and outer surfaces, the outer surface would heat up
Could water-laden winds blow from inside Mercury out through some
Holes – the largest of which may be at its South Pole? These winds might
deposit ice on the cold, dark side of Mercury, while cooling down the hot,
day side of Mercury. The ice is deposited around the polar caps and even
further afield. As Mercury rotates, the ice then melts. The ice which falls
in craters and depressions which are not warmed by the Sun, is then later
covered by dust blown by the cold winds from inside Mercury. The winds of
Mercury seem to be relatively periodic and could do with more study. Perhaps
the polar regions of Mercury should be constantly watched using radar. Such
studies would show whether the winds of Mercury originate from inside the
planet. One could not attribute the mass deposition of ice around its polar
caps to ice comets.
This is especially true if this deposition is cyclical
and frequent. If such is the case, it can only originate from inside the
planet. It would then demonstrate that not only does that planet have a
substantial atmosphere inside it, but that it has water vapor. For water
vapor to exist in air coming out of the inside of the planet there must
therefore be a source of heat which prevents the water from turning to ice
inside the cool, dark depths of the planet. Does that planet have an Inner
Sun? If that planet has some kind of atmosphere, and water vapor, and some
heating mechanism inside, one can only wonder if perhaps some kind of life
may exist inside that planet? The answers to all these questions may be
found if we can find out more about the Cold Winds of Mercury.