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A PLANET SYMBOL (or planetary symbol) is a graphical symbol either in astrology or astronomy representing either a classical planet (including the Sun
Sun
and the Moon
Moon
) or one of the eight modern planets . In alchemy , the symbols are also used to represent the metals which are associated with the respective planets.

The use of these symbols is based in ancient Greco-Roman tradition , although their current shapes are a development of the 16th century. The classical planets with their symbols and associated metals are:

planet Moon Mercury Venus Sun Mars Jupiter Saturn

symbol ☾ ☿ ♀ ☉ ♂ ♃ ♄

metal silver mercury copper gold iron tin lead

For the purposes of modern astronomy, the International Astronomical Union discourages the use of these symbols in journal articles. In certain cases where planetary symbols might be used, such as in the headings of tables, the IAU Style Manual propose one- and (to disambiguate Mercury and Mars) two-letter abbreviations for the names of the planets. The modern planets with their symbols and abbreviations recommended by the IAU are:

planet Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune

symbol ☿ ♀ ♁ ♂ ♃ ♄ ⛢ ♆

IAU Me V E Ma J S U N

The symbols of Venus
Venus
and Mars
Mars
are also used to represent female and male in biology and botany, following a convention introduced by Linnaeus
Linnaeus
in the 1750s, and by extension they have also come into use as "gender symbols " in the second half of the 20th century.

The planet symbols are encoded by Unicode in the Miscellaneous Symbols block.

CONTENTS

* 1 History

* 1.1 Classical planets
Classical planets
* 1.2 Earth symbol
Earth symbol
* 1.3 Modern discoveries

* 2 Classical planets
Classical planets

* 2.1 Moon
Moon
* 2.2 Mercury * 2.3 Venus
Venus
* 2.4 Sun
Sun
* 2.5 Mars
Mars
* 2.6 Jupiter
Jupiter
* 2.7 Saturn * 2.8 Uranus
Uranus
* 2.9 Neptune
Neptune
* 2.10 Pluto
Pluto

* 3 Astrological planets

* 3.1 Ceres * 3. 2 Pallas
2 Pallas
* 3. 3 Juno
3 Juno
* 3. 4 Vesta
4 Vesta
* 3.5 Chiron * 3.6 Lilith * 3.7 Sextile
Sextile
* 3.8 Semisextile * 3.9 Quincunx * 3.10 Sesquiquadrante

* 4 See also * 5 References

HISTORY

CLASSICAL PLANETS

The written symbols for Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn have been traced to forms found in late Greek papyri. Early forms are also found in medieval Byzantine codices in which many ancient horoscopes were preserved. Antecedents of the planetary symbols are attested in the form of attributes given to the respective classical deities, represented in simplified pictographic form already in the Roman era, as attested in the Bianchini's planisphere (2nd century, Louvre
Louvre
inv. Ma 540) where the seven planets are represented by portraits of the seven corresponding gods, each with a simple representation of an attribute, as follows: Mercury has a caduceus ; Venus
Venus
has, attached to her necklace, a cord connected to another necklace; Mars, a spear; Jupiter, a staff; Saturn, a scythe; the Sun, a circlet with rays emanating from it; and the Moon, a headdress with a crescent attached.

A diagram in the astronomical compendium by Johannes Kamateros (12th century) shows the Sun
Sun
represented by the circle with a ray, Jupiter by the letter zeta (the initial of Zeus
Zeus
, Jupiter's counterpart in Greek mythology ), Mars
Mars
by a shield crossed by a spear, and the remaining classical planets by symbols resembling the modern ones, without the cross-mark seen in modern versions of the symbols. These cross-marks first appear in the late 15th or early 16th century. According to Maunder, the addition of crosses appears to be "an attempt to give a savour of Christianity to the symbols of the old pagan gods."

The modern symbols for the seven classical planets (with an additional crossbar in the symbol for Mercury) are found in a woodcut of the seven planets, represented as the corresponding gods riding chariots, in a Latin translation of Abu Ma\'shar 's De Magnis Coniunctionibus printed at Venice in 1506.

*

Early modern depiction of the planet symbols in an alchemical context ( Musaeum Hermeticum , 1678) *

Page spread (with the signs for Mars
Mars
and Venus) from a 1515 illustrated edition of Abu Ma\'shar 's De Magnis Coniunctionibus (in the by translation by Herman of Carinthia
Herman of Carinthia
, c. 1140, editio princeps by Erhard Ratdolt of Augsburg, 1489). *

Depiction of the planets in a 15th-century Arabic manuscript of Abu Ma'shar's "Book of nativities" *

Medieval planisphere showing the zodiac and the classical planets . The planets are represented by seven faces.

EARTH SYMBOL

Main article: Earth symbol
Earth symbol

Wikimedia Commons has media related to EARTH SYMBOLS .

Earth
Earth
was not a classical planet. Its status as planet is a consequence of the development of heliocentrism . Nevertheless, there are ancient symbols for Earth, notably a cross representing the four cardinal directions , as a cross in a circle also interpreted as a globe with equator and a meridian ; The "Earth" symbol is encoded by Unicode at U+1F728 (🜨; alternative characters with similar shape are: U+2295 ⊕ CIRCLED PLUS; U+2A01 ⨁ N-ARY CIRCLED PLUS OPERATOR). Alternatively, there is the globus cruciger (U+2641 ♁), now most commonly used as planetary symbol. The "globus cruciger" symbol is also used as an alchemical symbol of antimony .

MODERN DISCOVERIES

“Designation of celestial bodies” in a German almanac printed 1850

Uranus
Uranus
(U+26E2 ⛢), also U+2645 ♅, a globe surmounted by the letter H for Herschel ): The symbols for Uranus
Uranus
were created shortly after its discovery in 1781. One symbol, , invented by J. G. Köhler and refined by Bode , was intended to represent the newly discovered metal platinum ; since platinum, commonly called white gold, was found by chemists mixed with iron, the symbol for platinum combines the alchemical symbols for iron , ♂, and gold , ☉. This symbol also combines the symbols of Mars
Mars
(♂) and the Sun
Sun
(☉) because in Greek Mythology, Uranus
Uranus
represented heaven, and represents the combined power of Mars' spear and the Sun. Another symbol, , was suggested by Lalande in 1784. In a letter to Herschel, Lalande described it as "un globe surmonté par la première lettre de votre nom" ("a globe surmounted by the first letter of your name").

Neptune
Neptune
(U+2646 ♆), Neptune\'s trident , also , a globe surmounted by the letters "L" and "V" for Le Verrier ): Several symbols were proposed for Neptune
Neptune
to accompany the suggested names for the planet. Claiming the right to name his discovery, Urbain Le Verrier originally proposed the name Neptune
Neptune
and the symbol of a trident , while falsely stating that this had been officially approved by the French Bureau des Longitudes . In October, he sought to name the planet Leverrier, after himself, and he had loyal support in this from the observatory director, François Arago
François Arago
, who in turn proposed a new symbol for the planet ( ). However, this suggestion met with stiff resistance outside France
France
. French almanacs quickly reintroduced the name Herschel for Uranus, after that planet's discoverer Sir William Herschel , and Leverrier for the new planet. Professor James Pillans of the University of Edinburgh defended the name Janus
Janus
for the new planet, and proposed a key for its symbol. Meanwhile, Struve presented the name Neptune
Neptune
on December 29, 1846, to the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences . In August 1847, the Bureau des Longitudes announced its decision to follow prevailing astronomical practice and adopt the choice of Neptune, with Arago refraining from participating in this decision.

Pluto
Pluto
was also considered a planet from its discovery in 1930 until its re-classification as a "dwarf planet " in 2006. The symbol used for Pluto
Pluto
was a ligature of the letters P and L ( Unicode U+2647 ♇).

In the 19th century, symbols for the major asteroids were also in use, including Vesta (an altar with fire on it; ⚶ U+26B6), Juno (a sceptre; ⚵ U+26B5), Ceres (a reaper's scythe; ⚳ U+26B3), Pallas (⚴ U+26B4); Encke (1850) has further symbols for Astraea , Hebe , Iris , Flora and Metis . Unicode furthermore has a symbol (⚷ U+26B7) for 2060 Chiron (discovered 1977).

CLASSICAL PLANETS

Further information: Classical planets
Classical planets
and Days of the week
Days of the week

MOON

Further information: Crescent
Crescent
and Astronomical symbols § Symbols for the Sun
Sun
and Moon
Moon

Wikimedia Commons has media related to LUNA SYMBOLS .

Wikimedia Commons has media related to CRESCENT MOON SYMBOLS .

The crescent shape has been used to represent the Moon
Moon
since earliest times. In classical anqituity, it is worn by lunar deities (Selene/Luna , Artemis/Dianad , Men , etc.) either on the head or behind the shoulders, with its horns pointing upward. Its representation with the horns pointing sideways (as a heraldic crescent increscent or crescent decrescent) is early modern.

The same symbol can be used in a different context not for the Moon itself but for a lunar phase , as part of a sequence of four symbols for "new moon" (U+1F311 🌑), "waxing" (U+263D ☽), "full moon" (U+1F315 🌕) and "waning" (U+263E ☾).

MERCURY

Wikimedia Commons has media related to MERCURY SYMBOLS .

The symbol for Mercury (U+263F ☿) is ultimately derived from the caduceus , or intertwined serpents, which were the main attribute of Mercury/Hermes throughout antiquity. The caduceus was usually shown with at least three loops, but this was simplified to a single loop in the diagram of Kamateros (12th century). The modern symbol has also been interpreted as representing the god's winged headdress .

*

Mercury symbol, representing mercury (quicksilver) mining, in the municipal coat of arms of Stahlberg , Rhineland-Palatinate , Germany.

VENUS

Further information: Star of Ishtar

Wikimedia Commons has media related to VENUS SYMBOLS .

The VENUS SYMBOL (♀) consists of a circle with a small cross below it. It originates in Late Antiquity as an astrological symbol for the planet Venus
Venus
(associated with the goddess Venus
Venus
), and hence as alchemical symbol for copper . In modern times, it is still used as the astronomical symbol for Venus, although its use is discouraged by the International Astronomical Union .

In zoology and botany , it is used to represent the female sex (alongside the astrological symbol for Mars
Mars
representing the male sex), following a convention introduced by Linnaeus
Linnaeus
in the 1750s. Following the biological convention, the symbol in the 20th century also came to be used in sociological contexts to represent women or femininity .

The symbol appears without the cross-mark (⚲) in Johannes Kamateros (12th century). In the Bianchini's planisphere (2nd century), Venus
Venus
is represented by a necklace. The idea that the symbol represents the goddess' hand mirror dates to the 19th century.

Unicode encodes the FEMALE SIGN at U+2640 (♀), in the Miscellaneous Symbols block.

*

Star of Ishtar *

Medieval (Johannes Kamateros, 12th century) form of the Venus
Venus
symbol; the horizontal stroke was added to form a Christian cross
Christian cross
in the early modern period. *

The Venus
Venus
symbol in the municipal coat of arms of Falun Municipality in Sweden (1932), here representing copper mining. *

Raised fist
Raised fist
within Venus
Venus
symbol, used as a symbol of second-wave feminism (1960s)

SUN

Further information: Solar symbol and Astronomical_symbols § Symbols_for_the_Sun_and_ Moon
Moon

Wikimedia Commons has media related to SUN SYMBOLS .

The modern astronomical symbol for the Sun
Sun
(circled dot , Unicode U+2609 ☉) was first used in the Renaissance.

Bianchini's planisphere , produced in the 2nd century, has a circlet with rays radiating from it. A diagram in Johannes Kamateros' 12th century Compendium of Astrology shows the Sun
Sun
represented by a circle with a ray. This older symbol is encoded by Unicode (version 9.0, June 2016) as "ALCHEMICAL SYMBOL FOR GOLD" (🜚 U+1F71A) in the Alchemical Symbols block.

*

Medieval (Johannes Kamateros, 12th century) astronomical symbol for the Sun
Sun
(and alchemical symbol for gold)

MARS

Wikimedia Commons has media related to MARS SYMBOLS .

The MARS SYMBOL (♂) is a depiction of a circle with an arrow emerging from it, pointing at an angle to the upper right. As astrological symbol it represents the planet Mars
Mars
(connected to the god Mars
Mars
(Ares) ) and hence iron in alchemy . In zoology and botany , it is used to represent the male sex (alongside the astrological symbol for Venus
Venus
representing the female sex), following a convention introduced by Linnaeus
Linnaeus
in the 1750s. It is encoded by Unicode as "MALE SIGN" at U+2642 in the Miscellaneous Symbols block

The symbol in its current form, representing spear and shield , dates to the early 16th century. It is derived from a medieval form where the spear was drawn across the shield, which in turn was based on a convention used in antiquity (Bianchini's planisphere) which represented Mars
Mars
by a spear. A diagram in the 12th-century Compendium of Astrology by Johannes Kamateros represents Mars
Mars
by a shield crossed by a spear.

The symbol for iron, it also forms part of the logo of Volvo Cars .

*

The Mars
Mars
symbol (representing iron mining ) in the municipal coat of arms of Karlskoga
Karlskoga
in Sweden

JUPITER

Wikimedia Commons has media related to JUPITER SYMBOLS .

The origin of the symbol for Jupiter
Jupiter
(U+2643 ♃) is not entirely clear. Jupiter
Jupiter
's attribute is a sceptre (as king of the gods ), but Kamateros (12th century) represents Jupiter
Jupiter
simply by the letter zeta ζ (for Zeus
Zeus
). The modern symbol as used from the 16th century is apparently based on a majuscule zeta Ζ with the addition of a vertical stroke to form the Christian cross. The less-than-intuitive symbol gave rise to various ad hoc interpretations by modern commentators; thus, the editors of the Penny cyclopedia (1842) thought might "supposed to be a symbol of the thunder (arm and hand holding thunder?)" and more recently the sign has been reported as based on the "Egyptian hieroglyph for the eagle".

SATURN

Wikimedia Commons has media related to SATURN SYMBOLS .

Saturn is usually depicted with a scythe or sickle , and the planetary symbol has apparently evolved from a picture of this attribute, in Kamateros (12th century) shown in a shape similar to the letter eta η, with the horizontal stroke added along with the "Christianization" of the other symbols in the early 16th century, (U+2644 ♄).

*

Emblem of the Fraternitas Saturni
Fraternitas Saturni
, a German magical order founded in 1926. *

The Saturn symbol representing lead in the municipal coat of arms of Bleiwäsche, since 1975 part of Bad Wünnenberg
Bad Wünnenberg
, North Rhine-Westphalia , Germany.

URANUS

Wikimedia Commons has media related to URANUS SYMBOLS .

In Unicode there are two symbols for Uranus
Uranus
: (♅) URANUS at U+2645 and (⛢) ASTRONOMICAL SYMBOL FOR URANUS at U+26E2, in the Miscellaneous Symbols block.

NEPTUNE

Wikimedia Commons has media related to NEPTUNE SYMBOLS .

The Unicode symbol for Neptune
Neptune
is (♆) NEPTUNE at U+2646.

PLUTO

Wikimedia Commons has media related to PLUTO SYMBOLS .

The Unicode symbol for Pluto
Pluto
is (♇) PLUTO at U+2647.

ASTROLOGICAL PLANETS

CERES

Wikimedia Commons has media related to CERES SYMBOLS .

The Unicode symbol for Ceres is (⚳) CERES at U+26B3.

PALLAS

Wikimedia Commons has media related to (2) PALLAS SYMBOLS .

The Unicode symbol for Pallas is (⚴) PALLAS at U+26B4.

JUNO

Wikimedia Commons has media related to (3) JUNO SYMBOLS .

The Unicode symbol for Juno is (⚵) JUNO at U+26B5.

VESTA

Wikimedia Commons has media related to VESTA (ASTEROID) SYMBOL .

The Unicode for Vesta is (⚶) VESTA at U+26B6.

CHIRON

Wikimedia Commons has media related to (2060) CHIRON SYMBOLS .

The Unicode symbol for Chiron is (⚷) CHIRON at U+26B7.

LILITH

Wikimedia Commons has media related to LILITH .

The Unicode symbol for the Lilith is (⚸) BLACK MOON LILITH at 26B8.

SEXTILE

Wikimedia Commons has media related to ASTROLOGICAL ASPECT SYMBOLS .

The Unicode symbol for the Sextile
Sextile
is (⚹) SEXTILE at 26B9.

SEMISEXTILE

Wikimedia Commons has media related to ASTROLOGICAL ASPECT SYMBOLS .

The Unicode symbol for the Semisextile is (⚺) SEMISEXTILE at 26BA.

QUINCUNX

Wikimedia Commons has media related to ASTROLOGICAL ASPECT SYMBOLS .

The Unicode symbol for the Quincunx is (⚻) QUINCUNX at 26BB.

SESQUIQUADRANTE

Wikimedia Commons has media related to ASTROLOGICAL ASPECT SYMBOLS .

The Unicode symbol for the Sesquiquadrante is (⚼) SESQUIQUADRANTE at 26BC.

SEE ALSO

Wikimedia Commons has media related to PLANET SYMBOLS .

Wikimedia Commons has media related to ALCHEMICAL SYMBOLS .

* Astrological symbol * Astronomical symbol
Astronomical symbol
* Gender symbol
Gender symbol
* Classical planets in Western alchemy

REFERENCES

* ^ A B The IAU Style Manual (PDF). 1989. p. 27. * ^ Jones, Alexander (1999). Astronomical papyri from Oxyrhynchus. pp. 62–63. ISBN 0-87169-233-3 . * ^ Neugebauer, Otto (1975). A history of ancient mathematical astronomy. pp. 788–789. ISBN 0-387-06995-X . * ^ A B C D "Bianchini\'s planisphere". Florence, Italy: Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza (Institute and Museum of the History of Science). Retrieved 2010-03-17. * ^ A B C D Maunder (1934) * ^ Maunder (1934:239) * ^ BNF Arabe 2583 fol. 15v. Saturn is shown as a black bearded man, kneeling and holding a scythe or axe; Mercury is shown as a scribe holding an open codex; Jupiter
Jupiter
as a man of the law wearing a turban; Venus
Venus
as a lute-player; Mars
Mars
as a helmeted warrior holding a sword and the head of an enemy. * ^ A B C D The Penny cyclopædia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. 22. C. Knight. 1842. p. 197. * ^ The Encyclopedia Americana: a library of universal knowledge. 26. Encyclopedia Americana Corp. 1920. pp. 162–163. Retrieved 2011-03-24. * ^ A B Johann Franz Encke
Johann Franz Encke
, Berliner Astronomisches Jahrbuch für 1853, Berlin 1850, p. VIII * ^ Bode, J. E. (1784). Von dem neu entdeckten Planeten. pp. 95–96. * ^ Gould, B. A. (1850). Report on the history of the discovery of Neptune. Smithsonian Institution. p. 5. * ^ Cain, Fraser. "Symbol for Uranus". Universe Today. Retrieved 18 March 2013. * ^ Francisca Herschel (August 1917). "The meaning of the symbol H+o for the planet Uranus". The Observatory. Bibcode :1917Obs....40..306H. * ^ A B Schumacher, H. C. (1846). "Name des Neuen Planeten". Astronomische Nachrichten. 25: 81–82. Bibcode :1846AN.....25...81L. doi :10.1002/asna.18470250603 . * ^ A B Littmann, Mark; Standish, E. M. (2004). Planets Beyond: Discovering the Outer Solar System. Courier Dover Publications. p. 50. ISBN 0-486-43602-0 . * ^ A B Pillans, James (1847). "Ueber den Namen des neuen Planeten". Astronomische Nachrichten. 25 (26): 389–392. Bibcode :1847AN.....25..389.. doi :10.1002/asna.18470252602 . * ^ A B Baum, Richard; Sheehan, William (2003). In Search of Planet Vulcan: The Ghost in Newton's Clockwork Universe. Basic Books. pp. 109–110. ISBN 0-7382-0889-2 . * ^ Gingerich, Owen (1958). "The Naming of Uranus
Uranus
and Neptune". Astronomical Society of the Pacific Leaflets. 8: 9–15. Bibcode :1958ASPL....8....9G. * ^ Hind, J. R. (1847). "Second report of proceedings in the Cambridge Observatory relating to the new Planet
Planet
(Neptune)". Astronomische Nachrichten. 25 (21): 309–314. Bibcode :1847AN.....25..309.. doi :10.1002/asna.18470252102 . * ^ Bureau Des Longitudes, France
France
(1847). Connaissance des temps: ou des mouvementes célestes, à l\'usage des astronomes. p. unnumbered front matter. * ^ Cox, Arthur (2001). Allen's astrophysical quantities. Springer. p. 2. ISBN 0-387-95189-X . * ^ Mattison, Hiram (1872). High-School Astronomy. Sheldon & Co. pp. 32–36. * ^ "staff and winged helmet of Mercury" Tim Collins, Behind the Lost Symbol (2010), p. 128 * ^ A B Stearn, William T. (May 1962). "The Origin of the Male
Male
and Female
Female
Symbols of Biology". Taxon. 11 (4): 109–113. doi :10.2307/1217734 . JSTOR 1217734 . "In his Systema Naturae (Leyden, 1735) he used them with their traditional associations for metals. Their first biological use is in the Linnaean dissertation Plantae hybridae xxx sistit J. J. Haartman (1751) where in discussing hybrid plants Linnaeus
Linnaeus
denoted the supposed female parent species by the sign ♀, the male parent by the sign ♂, the hybrid by ☿ 'matrem signo ♀, patrem ♂ the last are now indicated by the multiplication sign ×. Linnaeus's first general use of the signs of ♀ and ♂ was in his Species Plantarum (1753) written between 1746 and 1752 and surveying concisely the whole plant kingdom as then known." (p. 110) * ^ see Hiram Mattison, A high-school astronomy (1857), p. 32. * ^ In the official code chart glossed " = Venus
Venus
= alchemical symbol for copper → 1F469 👩 woman → 1F6BA 🚺 womens symbol". * ^ A B Maunder (1934), p. 245. * ^ Falun was the site of a copper mine from at least the 13th century. A coat of arms including a copper sign is recorded for 1642; the current design dates to the early 20th century, and was given official recognition in 1932. It was slightly simplified upon the formation of the modern municipality in 1971 (registered with the Swedish Patent and Registration Office . in 1988). * ^ Claimed to have been designed by Robin Morgan
Robin Morgan
in the 1960s. "Morgan designed the universal logo of the women’s movement, the woman’s symbol centered with a raised fist" (robinmorgan.net) * ^ A B Neugebauer, Otto; Van Hoesen, H. B. (1987). Greek Horoscopes. pp. 1, 159, 163. * ^ "At the same time as VOLVO was reactivated, the ancient chemical symbol for iron, a circle with an arrow pointing diagonally upwards to the right, was adopted as a logotype." (volvoclub.org.uk) * ^ Maunder (1934), p. 244. * ^ Pat Ward, Barbara Ward, Space Frontiers, Grades 4 - 8: EXPLORING Astronomy, Carson-Dellosa Publishing, 22 Oct 2012 p. 42 (without further reference). * ^ A B C D E F G H I J K L In the official code chart. * ^ In the official code chart glossed "= alchemical symbol for bismuth/tinglass".

* Maunder, A. S. D. (1934). "The origin of the symbols of the planets". The Observatory. 57: 238–247. Bibcode :1934Obs....57..238M.

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