Mercury: The Dark-Side Temperature

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Science  30 Oct 1970:
Vol. 170, Issue 3957, pp. 535-537
DOI: 10.1126/science.170.3957.535


The planet Mercury was observed before, during, and after the inferior conjunctions of 29 September 1969 and 9 May 1970 at wavelengths of 3.75, 4.75, 8.6, and 12 microns. The average dark-side temperature is 111° ± 3°K. The thermal inertia of the surface required to fit this temperature is close to that for the moon and indicates that Mercury and the moon have very similar top surface layers.

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