Astronomy vocabulary

As China invests into space exploration, a list of Mandarin words for astronomy and the planets will be useful to read Chinese. Who knows, if China keeps up its significant investments in space technology, Mandarin just might be the language of outer space.

English: astronaut
Pinyin: yǔ háng yuán
Chinese: 宇航员

English: astronomy
Pinyin: tiānwén
Chinese: 天文

English: star

English: planet
Pinyin: xíng xīng
Chinese: 行星

English: moon
Pinyin: yuè
Chinese: 月

English: asteroid
Pinyin: xiǎo xíng xīng
Chinese: 小行星

English: asteroid belt
Pinyin: xiǎo xíng xīng dài
Chinese: 小行星带

English: comet
Pinyin: huì xīng
Chinese: 彗星

English: meteor
Pinyin: liú xīng
Chinese: 流星

English: shooting star
Pinyin: zéi xīng
Chinese: zéi xīng

English: galaxy
Pinyin: xīng xì
Chinese: 星系

English: universe
Pinyin: yǔ zhòu
Chinese: 宇宙

English: spaceship
Pinyin: fēi chuán
Chinese: 飞船

Notice that there is a pattern for the first five planets (except for Earth). The first five planets are named from the five Chinese elements plus the word for star (星): water (水), metal (金), fire (火), wood (木), and earth (地).

English: Mercury
Pinyin: shuǐ xīng
Chinese: 水星
Notes: water star

English: Venus
Pinyin: jīn xīng
Chinese: 金星
Notes: metal star

English: Earth
Pinyin: dì qiú
Chinese: 地球

English: Mars
Pinyin: huǒ xīng
Chinese: 火星
Notes: fire star

English: Jupiter
Pinyin: mù xīng
Chinese: 木星
Notes: wood star

English: Saturn
Pinyin: tǔ xīng
Chinese: 土星

English: Uranus
Pinyin: tiān wáng xīng
Chinese: 天王星
Notes: Creator God 天王

English: Neptune
Pinyin: hǎi wáng xīng
Chinese: 海王星
Notes: God of the Sea 海王

English: Pluto
Pinyin: míng wáng xīng
Chinese: 冥王星
Notes: God of the Underworld 冥王

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