What Chemicals Make Up Mercury's Atmosphere?

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Mercury doesn't really have an atmosphere, it has something called an exosphere. Find out what chemicals make up Mercury's atmosphere with help from an educational professional in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Outer Space
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Hi, my name is Eylene Pirez, and I'm an astrophysicist, and this is "what chemicals make up mercury's atmosphere?" So, Mercury doesn't really have an atmosphere, it has something called an exosphere, which is kind of a version of an atmosphere, but very, very thin. So, because of the density's so low, we don't really call them an atmosphere. But, they are gases that are bound to the surface by gravitational forces, just not enough to call them an atmosphere. Now, what is the composition of the exosphere? It's about 42 percent oxygen, and about 29 percent sodium, about 2 percent is, 22 percent, actually, is hydrogen, and about 1 percent is helium, and about zero point five percent is actually potassium. There's also a lot of traces of argon, traces of xenon, water, carbon dioxide, and et cetera, but the actual amount of these traces is too insignificant to actually have a percentage. My name is Eylene Pirez, and I'm an astrophysicist, and this is the composition of Mercury's exosphere.

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