Project Definition

The objective:

To develop a set of astrological symbols for every celestial body that is known and has been given a unique individual name. Each of these symbols will be consistent parts of a whole, referred to as a symbology, that is logically consistent and follows from a set of rules.

The purpose of this project is not astrological, but is instead an exercise in symbology, a creative process that is not often explored. By developing these symbols, I have learned a lot about myth, history, observational astronomy, and art. To speak more generally, it is enlightening to read the many names our global scientific community has given the asteroids, ranging from the honorific to the whimsical. It gives a unconventional understanding of the ideas and stories we value.

These are the rules I follow:

  • The symbology will be be based as much as possible on the familiar Western symbols of the seven planets and twelve constellations.
  • The individual symbols will be directly based on the referent of the symbol - i.e. the person, place, or concept that gave its name.
  • Each symbol will be unique, such that any two symbols differ by at least one symbeme, and no symbol is a left-right reflection of any other symbol.
  • Each symbol will be simple and distinctive enough that it can be drawn by anyone from memory without too much hand-ache.
  • The symbology will try as best as possible to be international and multicultural, without special weight to any one culture or language.

In service of these rules, there are a number of design considerations I make. For example, although many symbols include a small 5-pointed star, it can everywhere be replaced with any other kind of star or simply a nondescript mark without ambiguity. Another such decision is that in all of the symbols that I present, circles only exist in three different sizes: big (Sun), small (Venus), and tiny (Pluto), and all curves are circular arcs whenever possible.

The work of others:

Although to my knowledge this is the first expanded symbology that aims to be comprehensive, in good faith I would like to acknowledge the symbols invented by others. In those cases where their symbols inspired my own, I will credit them on the appropriate page.

Other sources that have been useful throughout this project here and there:

  • "Dictionary of Minor Planet Names," Lutz D. Schmadel, 6th edition
  • "Myths, Symbols, and Legends of Solar System Bodies," Rachel Alexander, Springer, 2014.
  • JPL Small-Body Database Browser,
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License