Astronomical and astrological symbols

Interesting Wikipedia articles on astronomical symbols and astrological symbols.

I’ve been seeing some of these symbols all my life, but had no idea what most of them derived from. For example, I didn’t know that the symbol for Mercury (☿) represents Mercury’s caduceus. I’m especially intrigued to learn that the symbol for Jupiter (♃) derives from the Greek letter zeta, abbreviating the name Zeus.

Also intriguing: the symbols that incorporate letters of the Roman alphabet, such as a symbol for Uranus (♅) that represents “a globe surmounted by the letter H (for Herschel, who discovered Uranus),” and an alternate symbol for Neptune that includes “a globe surmounted by the letters ‘L’ and ‘V’, (for Le Verrier, who discovered Neptune),” and a symbol for Pluto (♇), where the P and L represent both Pluto and astronomer Percival Lowell.

I also like a bunch of the minor-planet symbols (which I’m not including in my post here because they aren’t yet part of Unicode). And the symbol for a comet: ☄. (The comet symbol looks very different in different fonts.)

A couple more:

♌ (Leo)
“A script form of the Greek letter ‘lambda,’ which is the first letter of the Greek word leon, which means ‘lion.’”
♍ (Virgo)
“Derived from the Greek letters ΠΑΡ, which are the first three letters of the Greek word parthenos, which means ‘virgin.’”

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