Venus is the second planet from the Sun, and very similar to Earth in terms of size, mass and density. Venus’ planet symbol is the same as the symbol for the female in biology. It looks like a circle, with a cross underneath it, and also represents femininity and the alchemical symbol for copper. Historians think that the symbol for the planet Venus looks a bit like a handheld mirror. And in antiquity, mirrors were made out of polished copper. So that’s how the symbol might have arisen.
Astronomers use symbols as a short hand for each of the major objects in the Solar System. They can use these symbols for diagrams and mathematical formulae, instead of having to write out the planet’s name in full each time.
If you want to put the symbol for Venus into an HTML document, just use the code
♀. That will show up like this: ♀
If you’d like more info on Venus, check out Hubblesite’s News Releases about Venus, and here’s a link to NASA’s Solar System Exploration Guide to Venus. Finally, here’s a link to ESA’s Venus Express spacecraft.
We have also recorded an entire episode of Astronomy Cast all about Venus. Listen here, Episode 50: Venus.