How Did the Planets Get Their Names?

Did you ever wonder how the planets got their names? If so you are not alone. The answer to this question is deeply rooted in both Greek and Roman mythology. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us. We will be glad to assist you in any way we can. In the mean time here are a few interesting facts about planet names. Read on to learn more! Once you’ve read this article you will be more familiar with the names of the planets.

Roman mythology

The naming of the planets is a long story but the first part is known for sure. The Romans named five of the planets after their gods. Jupiter was named for the god of the sky while Mars was named for the god of war. Mercury meanwhile is named after the fast-moving messenger of the gods. In both cases the planets’ names are rooted in Roman mythology.

As time went on the ancient Romans started observing the other planets and mapped out their movements including names for some of them. The Romans named planets after their gods – even Mercury the closest planet to the Sun with the shortest revolution – after the messengers of the god Hermes. So while there’s no concrete evidence that the Romans were inspired by the Greeks the names of the planets still carry some of those ideas to this day.

The Romans also named volcanoes after their gods. Vulcanist means ‘metal-worker’ a reference to the blacksmith god. The name of the planet Vulcan was also used to name the iconic star-ship Captain Kirk. In addition to its planet name Vulcan is still in use as a surname in Romania. In fact this Roman mythology connection may have led to the naming of Saturday after the god Saturn.

During the ancient Roman times the planets were named after their respective Greek and Roman gods. For example Mercury the planet of commerce was named after the Roman god of commerce and thievery and Venus was named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty. However the names of Venus Mars Jupiter and Saturn were given to the planets by different cultures. The Romans gave their planets names based on their appearance and movements. Mercury Venus and Mars are named after Roman goddesses of beauty and Mars was named after a god of war as they are red.

Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system and the fifth largest. The Romans named Jupiter after Zeus the god of light. Jupiter’s satellites all bear the names of mythological characters associated with Zeus. Saturn is the next planet in the solar system and it’s the second largest. Its satellites are named after characters from the Roman pantheon. Ultimately this shows that the names of planets were inspired by Roman mythology.

The eighth planet Uranus had been discovered in 1781 by William Herschel and was named after English king George III. Herschel wanted to name it after his own astronomer Johanne Bode. Johanne Bode suggested Uranus instead as he was the father of Saturn. It took about 50 years for the name to become widely accepted. That is a long way in astronomical circles.

Greek mythology

How the planets got their names is not entirely clear but there are several mythological figures that gave each of them a name. For example Saturn is the second largest planet in our solar system. He takes 29 Earth years to complete one full revolution around the sun. The Greeks named him Saturn after the god of agriculture. In Roman mythology the brightest planet Venus was named for Venus the goddess of love and beauty.

Since the ancient Greeks knew about the five naked-eye planets they named them after the Greek gods Zeus Hermes and Aphrodite. Later these names were altered to reflect their names as they were seen by the naked eye. In addition Pluto and its 27 moons were named after gods in Greek mythology including Hermes and Aphrodite. Among the most famous examples of Greek mythology are the myths about King Zeus and the astronomer Aristarchus of Samos.

Several ancient civilizations named planets after Greek and Roman mythological characters. Mercury for example was named after the Roman god of commerce. Venus was named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty. Saturn meanwhile is the third largest planet from the sun the fifth largest and the only natural satellite of Earth. While historians debate whether or not the names are derived from the Greek gods it is clear that the names of the planets have religious significance.

In modern science the planets’ names are chosen by the International Astronomical Union an organization comprised of scientists from all over the world. Ancient Romans who saw the sky were able to identify the brightest planets and naming them after them is not a bad way to honor the creators of the universe. This is the history of planet names. It helps us to better understand the origins of our names.

The largest planet in our solar system is Jupiter. Its name was derived from the Greek god Zeus who was also a god of light. The Romans compared Jupiter to their god Zeus. Jupiter’s satellites are named after characters in mythology and are the third brightest objects in the night sky. The names of the planets also reflect their importance in ancient history. They are associated with Roman gods and the Roman pantheon.

Hades is another god in Greek mythology. The god of the underworld Hades was born to a virgin named Rhea. Before Zeus allocated him the underworld he possessed the powers of fire and the sea. He inhabited the role over time. But without mortals Hades would have little to do. Hence he was given a planet in his name.

Titans inherited the names of the planets from the gods of Greek mythology. One of them was Iapetus. He is the father of Atlas and Prometheus. Saturn’s outermost satellite is Phoebe which is four times more distant from the Sun than Iapetus. The planets Jupiter and Mars also have their names from Greek mythology. These two were named after the Greek gods and the gods in ancient mythology revered these two planets.

During the 14th century B.C. the Greeks named Uranus after the sky god Ouranos. This god was the father of the planet Saturn and he acted as a messenger between the gods and humans. Similarly the ancient Greeks called Mercury Hermes or Stilbon the names of the planets. These names came from the Greeks mapping the pantheon onto the Babylonian pantheon.