Question sheet: Mercury’s Magnetic Twisters


Before reading:

  1. What is Mercury? Where is it?
  2. What would a planet need in order to have tornadoes?
  3. How might it be possible to see Mercury up close?

During reading:

  1. How is Mercury’s atmosphere different from Earth’s?
  2. When did scientists first realize Mercury has a magnetic field? How is it different from Earth’s?
  3. What is the solar wind?
  4. What do the Northern Lights on Earth have to do with the solar wind?
  5. What do the researchers think happen when the solar wind hits Mercury’s atmosphere?
  6. How might this interaction create Mercury’s strange atmosphere? What is the atmosphere made of?

After Reading

  1. Why might Mercury’s atmosphere appear to move?
  2. What do researchers need to do differently now in how they collect data about the planet?
  3. Why doesn’t the solar wind affect Earth the same way it affects Mercury?


  1. How was the solar wind discovered?
  2. Where else does plasma exist?