At Christmas of 1934, a bright “new” star exploded to life in Hercules. For a few days, it was one of the brightest stars in the night sky. It made the front pages of newspapers, and astronomers tracked it for months as it slowly faded from sight.
Mercury has been shrink-wrapped. Observations by an orbiting spacecraft suggest that the Sun’s closest planet has probably shrunk by several miles since it was born. That’s wrinkled and stretched its surface like shrink wrapping on a basketball.