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.’”