How did Mercury get its name?

The Romans knew of seven bright objects in the sky: the Sun, the Moon, and the five brightest planets. They named them after their most important gods. Because Mercury was the fastest planet as it moved around the Sun, it was named after the Roman messenger god Mercury. Mercury was also the god of travelers. According to myth, he had a winged hat and sandals, so he could fly.


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Learn about IRAS, the first infrared telescope launched into Earth's orbit!