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Author Topic: Planetary symbols question (yes, I already Googled it...)
Sterling
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I've been looking up planetary symbols; some seem to be pretty unequivocal (Sun seems to almost always be a circle with a dot in the center; Mars is always circle with an arrow emerging out of the upper right; Venus is always the circle with the cross coming out of the bottom.)

Uranus gets weird. It's either displayed as a figure very like Mars, but with a dot in the center of the circle and the arrow going straight up, or as an H-like symbol (sometimes with bowed sides) with a line going up from a circle beneath it to intersect the H's crossbar.

Does anyone know anything about the origins of these symbols, or if one is considered the more standard of the two?

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kmbboots
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Well you didn't google very hard! [Wink]

http://astroprofspage.com/archives/1221

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Sterling
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Thanks!
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kmbboots
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I hope that helps. His explanations are a tad non-definitive, but I get the sense that is because the real answers are not all that definitive.

It seems pretty clear that both symbols are correct and commonly used.

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Tara
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Reading this post has made me aware that, inside, I am a five-year-old.
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Teshi
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quote:
Symbol for the SunThough not a planet, Iíll start with the symbol for the Sun. It is simply a circle with a dot in the middle. This is presumably symbolic of the Sun being the center of the Solar System,
I've seen this symbol used for the sun before it was known the sun was at the centre of orbiting planets so I'm pretty sure this isn't the explanation.
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Sean Monahan
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quote:
Originally posted by Teshi:
I've seen this symbol used for the sun before it was known the sun was at the centre of orbiting planets so I'm pretty sure this isn't the explanation.

Holy crap, how old are you??
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Speed
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quote:
Originally posted by Teshi:
quote:
Symbol for the SunThough not a planet, Iíll start with the symbol for the Sun. It is simply a circle with a dot in the middle. This is presumably symbolic of the Sun being the center of the Solar System,
I've seen this symbol used for the sun before it was known the sun was at the centre of orbiting planets so I'm pretty sure this isn't the explanation.
Well then it's obviously because the Sun is composed primarily of Hydrogen. [Razz]
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Speed
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quote:
Originally posted by Sean Monahan:
quote:
Originally posted by Teshi:
I've seen this symbol used for the sun before it was known the sun was at the centre of orbiting planets so I'm pretty sure this isn't the explanation.

Holy crap, how old are you??
He's only 25, but he's from Canada. [Wink]
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rivka
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He's no he!
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Tinros
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Did anyone else notice this?

quote:
he symbol for the planet Jupiter looks a lot like a stylized 4. In fact, it is sometimes said that it is a 4 to show that Jupiter is the fourth planet from the Sun. However, that sounds rather made up, and I am not sure if there is anything to that.
Wait... Mercury=1, Venus=2, Earth=3, Mars=4, Jupiter=5, isn't it? So... that HAS to be made up, unless I'm really, really out of it tonight.
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Lisa
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Earth doesn't count. So yes, Jupiter is #4.
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Dogbreath
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It's only relatively recently that we've known Earth is also a planet.
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MightyCow
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OK, smart guys, if earth is a planet, how can an infinite stack of giant turtles be holding it up?
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theamazeeaz
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quote:
Originally posted by Tinros:
Did anyone else notice this?

quote:
he symbol for the planet Jupiter looks a lot like a stylized 4. In fact, it is sometimes said that it is a 4 to show that Jupiter is the fourth planet from the Sun. However, that sounds rather made up, and I am not sure if there is anything to that.
Wait... Mercury=1, Venus=2, Earth=3, Mars=4, Jupiter=5, isn't it? So... that HAS to be made up, unless I'm really, really out of it tonight.
When Earth wasn't considered a planet, the sun and the moon were, so no.

You know, these days most astronomers are lazy bums and just use a capital J for Jupiter.

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scifibum
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Well, if you go by the Ptolemaic geocentric model, the order of bodies from closest (to Earth) to furthest is:

1 Moon
2 Mercury
3 Venus
4 Sun
5 Mars
6 Jupiter
(etc)

However, I think it's likely that aside from ordering the distance of celestial bodies, the Sun and Moon were considered apart from planets. They are much larger in appearance, brighter, and much more obvious in their movements.

So excluding the Sun and Moon then Jupiter is the fourth object of its kind, ordering from closest to furthest. I suspect that's what was meant.

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