The Sun glyph in Astronomy: the 9 planets and beyond

The Moon glyph in Astronomy: the 9 planets and beyond




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8-planet montage of our solar system

From top to bottom the planets in the montage to the lright are Mercury, Venus, Earth (and Moon), Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Pluto is not included. The spacecraft that took these images are:

  • Mercury: Mariner 10

  • Venus: Magellan

  • Earth and Moon: Galileo

  • Mars: Mars Global Surveyor

  • Jupiter: Cassini, and

  • Saturn, Uranus and Neptune: Voyager.

The inner planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Moon, and Mars) are roughly to scale to each other; the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) are also roughly to scale to each other. The two sets, however, are NOT to scale to each other, the latter averaging ten times the diameter of the former. The outer planets are shown ¼ their actual diameters relative to the inner planets. The planets' actual diameters are:

  • Sun: 864,000 miles or 1,390,000 km.

  • Mercury: 3,032 miles or 4,879 km.

  • Venus: 7,521 miles or 12,104 km.

  • Earth: 7,926 miles or 12,756 km.

  • Moon: 2,159 miles or 3,475 km.

  • Mars: 4,221 miles or 6,794 km.

  • Jupiter: 88,844 miles or 142,984 km.

  • Saturn: 74,896 miles or 120,536 km.

  • Uranus: 31,762 miles or 51,118 km.

  • Neptune: 30,774 miles or 49,528 km.

  • Pluto: 1,485 miles or 2,390 km.

9 planets montage: second page in your astrology book



The solar system (from the "system of Sol") consists of planets, the largest bodies orbiting the Sun; their moons, various smaller bodies orbiting the planets also known as satellites; asteroids, much smaller dense bodies orbiting the Sun primarily, but not exclusively, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter; comets, even smaller icy bodies with very eccentric orbits extending at least out past Neptune that outgas when close to the Sun; and extended regions of these and other objects (remnants from the formation of the solar system four billion years ago) called the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud extending out as far as three light years from the Sun (the closest star is 4¼ light years distant), the Oort cloud marking the physical boundary of the solar system by our current understanding.

Since Pluto was demoted to a dwarf planet in 2006, the remaining eight planets can be subdivided into terrestrial (like terra) or rocky planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars; and the gas giant planets with no solid surface: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. The first four are also relatively small (3000-8000 miles in diameter) when compared to the last four, which are 30,000-90,000 miles in diameter, ten times the diameter or one thousand times the volume of the terrestrial planets.

The planets can also be grouped into "inferior planets" that are closer to the Sun than the Earth and thus show phases like the Moon, and the "superior planets" Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune which are farther from the Sun than the Earth. The superior planets only show full and gibbous phases and do not go through a complete range of phases like the inferior planets.

Lastly, seven of the planets including the Sun and the Moon—Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter and Saturn—are visible to the naked eye and have thus been known since ancient times. Known as the wanderers because they wandered among the fixed, unmoving stars (the Greek planetes means "wanderer", or  πλανήτης αστήρ: "wandering star"), they were considered gods and became the names of the days of the week and are the reason why the number seven is considered lucky (even "considered" is con + sidereus = "with the stars"). Monday is the Moon's day; Tuesday is Tiu's or Tiw's day (the Germanic god of war and of the sky); Wednesday is Woden's or Odin's day (the leader of the wild hunt); Thursday is Thor's day; Friday is Freya's or Fria's day (the Teutonic goddess of love, beauty and fertility); Saturday is Saturn's day; and, of course, Sunday is the Sun's day.

This page and much of this entire 600-page resource website are excerpted from your personalized, fine art book with your complete astrology reading: You and the Universe.

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Beautiful 9-planet montage: 2nd page of book

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© Carl Woebcke: Nine-Planet Montage of our Solar System, 1991-2017. All rights reserved.