Note: this is a follow-up question based on answers I've received in TeX SE on Packages for standard solar system (astronomical) symbols on the off-chance that some here may have actual hands-on experience with both TeX and these astronomical symbols.

Recently, I have been looking for specific LaTeX packages for generating the following symbols of the solar system.

symbols Photo source: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/resources/680/solar-system-symbols/

I have tried using the packages mathabx and wasysym. But I have found that they both have some issues and I need to use both of them to generate the above symbols. I have discussed it on TeX SE here and got this solution:



% wasysym redefinitions

% mathabx definitions
      <5> <6> <7> <8> <9> <10> gen * mathb
      <10.95> mathb10 <12> <14.4> <17.28> <20.74> <24.88> mathb12




   \text{mathabx: } \astrosymbolsA \\ 
   \text{wasysym: } \astrosymbolsB
Taking \jupiter, \saturn, \pluto  \, from `wasysym' and others from `mathabx': 


mathabx & wasysym Still, they don't exactly match the symbols of the first photo.

I guess the MWE of LaTeX codes is related to TeX SE. But I have not found any better way to cross-advertise questions of interest in multiple topics. That's why I share the codes here too.

Here in Astronomy SE, I want to know how these symbols are used in the astronomy communities/academia.

  • How is the frequency of using them in the technical/research publication?
  • How do publishers handle them when submitting articles?
  • Do they use any other dedicated/updated LaTeX packages available for generating these symbols?
  • $\begingroup$ Hi raf, this seems like a Latex-related, rather than an astronomy-related, question, meaning that it might be closed. If you're just asking about the use of the symbols in the literature, I'd suggest removing all the Latex stuff. That said, different journals render symbols slightly differently (and symbols other than $\odot$ and $\oplus$ are rarely used; for planets measured in Jupiter masses for instance, it's more common to use $M_\mathrm{Jup}$ or $M_\mathrm{J}$ I think). $\endgroup$ – pela Nov 17 at 12:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @uhoh Ah sorry, I missed that link. $\endgroup$ – pela Nov 17 at 12:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @pela I see what you mean, it's hidden about half of the way down. I've just updated and added a "preamble" :-) $\endgroup$ – uhoh Nov 17 at 13:02
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It might be a bit opinion-based question. For what it is worth, being a non-astronomer working on a manuscript with a fair bit of astrophysics, I found it useful to employ the Sun, Earth and Jupiter symbols as indices since so many things are easily expressed on these scales, but I think I would not use more of them. In the end, symbols are intended to communicate things, not obscure things. I use wasysym. $\endgroup$ – Anders Sandberg Nov 17 at 16:53
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ As an aside, I love it how all of the symbols have this long astrological history. Then there's Uranus and Neptune, which had to be invented after they were discovered. Then there's Pluto, where it looks like they went "aww hell, we probably should make a symbol for it. Let's combine a P and an L and call it a day!" $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Nov 18 at 2:53

As Anders Sandberg wrote, the Sun, Earth, and Jupiter symbols are used for putting things in context, for example M for solar masses or M for Earth masses. However, the astronomical community has stopped using the other symbols early in the twentieth century. Astrologers still use them, but not astronomers.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.