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capitalization: astronomical terms

Capitalize the names of planets and other astronomical bodies and configurations:

  • Venus
  • Alpha Centauri
  • the Great Bear
  • the Milky Way

Exception: Capitalize earth, sun and moon only when they are mentioned in relation to other planets or heavenly bodies:

  • The sun shines brightly.

but

  • Mercury is closer than the Earth to the Sun.

Do not capitalize generic words forming part of the name of a celestial object:

  • Halley’s comet
  • the rings of Saturn