Venus
venus.png

Venus is a planet in our Solar System with about the same mass as the Earth, but the similarities pretty much end there. It has a dense atmosphere that causes a greenhouse effect so severe that the surface temperatures of the planet can melt lead. Optical telescopes cannot even observe the surface.

The Romans named it after the goddess of beauty and love, since it appears to be the brightest star in the night sky. Her Greek counterpart is Aphrodite. It is known to many cultures as the dawn star or evening star, both due to its brightness and due to the fact that its inferior orbit keeps it closer to the position of the Sun to our perspective.

The classical symbol of this planet is a circle with a cross below it. This is sometimes said to represent Venus holding a mirror with which to admire herself, and sometimes said to represent the necklace she might wear. Or perhaps it represents a distaff, there is no strong consensus. This symbol is also a traditional symbol of femaleness, and is an uncommon alchemical symbol for copper. It is represented in Unicode as U+2640, by the symbol ♀.

It should be noted that the cross was added by later astrologers and alchemists at the bottom to represent Christianity. In some sense, the entire symbology is contaminated with this anachronistic Christian stroke.

In my opinion, this symbol is the most atomic and iconic of all of the symbols in this catalog. Several of the other planets (Mercury, Neptune) mimic this simple design, and I use its iconicity extensively in this project: see the venusian tag in general, and notice that for example symbols for astronomers and observatories evoke the same plan of "individual shape over general shape."

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