The symbol for Mercury represents the head and winged cap of Mercury, god of commerce and communication, surmounting his caduceus (staff).
Mercury is the smallest planet in the solar sytem, only slightly larger than the moon. It has an orbital period of 88 days. The image shows Mercury in true and enhanced colours.
In astrology, Mercury signifies communication, learning and transport. Mercury rules the signs Gemini and Virgo.
The symbol for Venus represents the hand mirror of the godess of love, and is also the symbol used for the female sex.
Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system, covered in a thick layers of sulphuric acid clouds. It rotates the opposite direction to the other planets, so sun rises in the west and sets in the east. It's surface is covered in volcanoes, many of which may be active.
Astrologically, Venus signifies love, pleasure, relationships, beauty and art. The planet Venus rules the signs of Taurus and Libra.
The symbol for Earth shows a globe bisected into four quarters.
The Earth is our home, and the only planet we currently know of that is able to support life. Earth is a rocky planet covered in water, and is often called 'The Blue Planet' as it is seen as blue from a distance by spacecraft that have been sent into the out reaches of the solar system.
Astrology doesn't have much to say about the Earth. But in the past, many cultures believed that it was the centre of both the solar system and the universe. We now understand that Earth is one of the many bodies that orbit the Sun.
The symbol for Mars represents the shield and spear of Mars, the god of war and is also the symbol used to represent the male sex.
Mars is smaller than Earth, and is a cold desert planet with a thin atmosphere. There's evidence that Mars was a lot wetter and warmer in the past, with a thicker atmosperhere. It's one of the most explored bodies in the solar sytem and currently has an international fleet of orbiting robots studying the planet. It has two moons, Phobos and Deimos.
Astrologically Mars signifies competition, energy, conflict, courage and sexual drive. Mars rules the signs of Aries and Scorpio.
The symbol for Jupiter may represent the eagle of Jove, or the initial of Zeus with a line drawn through it.
Jupiter is nearly twice as big as all the other planets in the solar system combined. Even the great red spot is larger than Earth. Jupiter is a gas giant; it is not rocky like the inner planets of the solar sytem - Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. Instead it is mainly gas, perhaps with a rocky core of a similar size to Earth. Jupiter is now thought to have 79 moons, the most well known of which is probably Europa. Europe caught the attention of scientists because it may have liquid water underneath it's icy surface and could be capable of supporting life.
In astrology, Jupiter signifies growth, opportunity, enthusiasm and adventure. Jupiter rules over Sagittarius and co-rules Pisces with Neptune.
Listen to the sound of lightening on Jupiter!
The symbol for Saturn represents an ancient sickel or scythe to represent the god of time.
Saturn is the second largest planet in our solar system, and the 6th planet from the Sun. It is most famous for it's beautiful rings that are made of of ice and rock. Saturn has 53 moons, and scientists are waiting for confirmation that it has even more - a total of 82! The most well known is probably Titan. You can watch a video about Titan below.
Astrologically, Saturn signifies authority, maturity, structure, thresholds, tradition and rules. Saturn rules Capricorn, and co-rules Aquarius with Uranus.
Listen to the sound of Saturn!
Watch a video about Titan!
The symbol for Uranus is a combination of the symbol for the Sun, and the spear of Mars. In Greek mythology, Uranus was the personification of heaven, dominated by the Sun's light and the power of Mars.
Uranus is an ice giant composed of icy methane, water and ammonia. Like Saturn, it has rings. Uranus rotates once every 17 hours, but does this sideways! It takes Uranus 84 years to orbit the Sun. Uranus has 27 moons, a magnitic field, and a temperature of -224.2 degrees Celsius in places, making it colder than Neptune.
In astrology, Uranus represents change, liberation, independence, rebelliousness, innovation, the unconventional and orginality. Uranus co-rules Aquarius with Saturn.
The symbol for Neptune represents the trident of Neptune, god of the sea.
Neptune is the furthest planet from the Sun and takes 165 of Earth's years to orbit, although it's day is much shorter at 16 hours. Neptune is an ice giant. It is cold and dark with strong winds. It has 14 moons which are named after sea gods and nymphs, and has rings like Uranus and Saturn.
Astrologically, Neptune signifies imagination, escape, dreams, chaos and disintegration and idealism. Neptune co-rules Pisces with Jupiter.