This article is about the planet. You may be looking for the episode of the same name.
Planet information
Sun orbited

White Sun[1]



Date terraformed



13,016 km[2]


6.323x1021 tonnes[2]


1.0140 gn[2]

Orbital position

11th from primary[2]

Orbital distance

3,085,456,069 km (20.625 AU)[2]

Orbital periods

93.67 years
34,212 days[2]



Cities and towns

Ariel City[4]




Union of Allied Planets[4]

"Ariel's quite nice, actually. They have some beautiful museums, not to mention some of the finest restaurants in the Core."
―Inara Serra[src]

Ariel is the eleventh planet of the White Sun system, orbiting the White Sun. Originally designated as P/2027(White Sun)07 when it was discovered in 2027 by astronomers, the planet was terraformed by robot terraformers to allow humans to colonize the world after the mass evacuation of "Earth-That-Was". Terraforming was completed in 2266, and the planet became one of the Central planets of the 'Verse. By 2518, Ariel was a metropolitan world located on the New Canaan Run trade route, and was covered with glass and steel cities. It's citizens had access to some of the finest examples of technology, and the planet was reputed for its medical facilities and dining establishments.


Ariel map

A map of Ariel


Serenity at the Ariel City docks

Ariel (original designation P/2027(White Sun)07) is the eleventh planet in the White Sun system. Measuring 13,016 kilometers in diameter, Ariel orbited the star White Sun at a distance of 3,085,456,069 kilometers, which is equivalent to 20.625 AUs. Ariel has a surface gravity of 1.0140, and a mass of 6.323x1021 tonnes. The planet takes 93.67 years to orbit around Bai Hu, which equates to 34,212 days. Three moons; Ariopolis, Shiva, and Poseidon; orbite the planet. All three were terraformed at the same time as Ariel. By 2518, Ariel boasted a population of some 3,615,995,500 inhabitants.[2]

The planet is divided into several landmasses, many of which are connected to others via strips of land. Ariel has large polar regions, and a large amount of surface water. Islands and archipelagos dot the surface of the planet. Urban areas are spread across the planet, and the capital is Ariel City, located in the southern hemisphere. Located on the New Canaan Run, Ariel is a hub of commercial trade activity; official Union of Allied Planets and Blue Sun cargo is transited through Ariel's docks, although the carrying of such cargo is classified and can only be carried by registered traders. Given the planet's extensive network of medical-related industries and institutions, medical supplies and the raw materials to make them are in great demand, and are both imported and exported on a regular basis. General stock, food and grain are constantly imported to keep the population fed, while the export of textiles is kept at a modest level.[5]


Ariel, originally known as P/2027(White Sun)07, was discovered in 2027 by astronomers on Earth-That-Was in the star cluster designated 34Tauri2020. It was believed to be within acceptable limits for terraforming. With the realization that Earth-That-Was would no longer be able to sustain her population, the Global Exodus Alliance was formed to evacuate the Sol system and relocate humanity to the 34Tauri2020 star cluster. After a trip of almost one hundred and twenty years, robot terraformers began to terraform Ariel in 2220. Terraforming of the planet and its accompanying moons was completed in 2266, with colonization beginning in the same year.[2]

Like the rest of the Central planets, Ariel is a highly modern and civilized. High technology is prevalent on the world, and citizens have access to laser guns, holo-scanners and flying cars. The basic needs of the population; food, shelter and medical care; are looked after, allowing the residents of the planet opportunity to think beyond their basic day-to-day survival needs. Tall buildings of glass and steel litter the cities, while holographic billboards advertise many products and services.[3] Ariel is noted for its exceptional network of medical facilities; including hospitals, schools and research facilities; [5] of which Saint Lucy's hospital in Ariel City is a prime example. The planet is also noted for its museums and fine restaurants,[4] as well as for being the only Core world to have no long-term prisons. A contract with the Trader's Guild transports prisoners to off-world facilities.[5]

Ariel is known throughout the Union of Allied Planets for the technical and cultural achievements of its citizenry; indeed, statistically, more winners of the Medal of Societal Advancement hail from Ariel than any other world in the Alliance. The planet's institutions have a strong history of supporting the arts, with musicians, artists, craftsmen and writers taking up residence on Ariel.[5] Most famous chefs either hail from Ariel, or emigrate to the planet to ply their trade. Due to its status as a Central Planet, landing on Ariel is restricted; only ships with legitimate business are given clearance to make planetfall,[3] and they need dual commerce permits from both the UAP and the Trader's Guild.[5]

In 2517, Saint Lucy's hospital was the target of a raid by a group of outlaws. Refurbishing a scrapped ambulance ship obtained from a junkyard, members of the crew of the Firefly-class transport ship Serenity managed to bypass hospital security with the intention of stealing a large amount of prescription drugs, including ivoprovalyn, propoxin, and hydrozapam. However, the raid had a secondary purpose; the fugitive doctor Simon Tam; who was crewing aboard the Serenity; needed access to a 3-D neuroimager to scan the brain of his sister, River Tam.[4] River Tam, an exceptionally intelligent child prodigy, had been the subject of experiments conducted by Alliance doctors in an effort to create the perfect assassin.[6] However, the experiments had left her mentally scarred, and Simon Tam sought to better understand what had been done to her so that he could attempt to reverse the damage. The raid was successful, with Doctor Tam able to complete his task, and the crew managing to secure a large amount of drugs to sell to the Rim planets.[4]


Ariel City is one of the planet's main cities. Highly urbanized, the city is full of skyscrapers and is situated on the coast. Ariel City is the location of Saint Lucy's hospital,[4] Shinei University,[5] the starship docks, and a large municipal junkyard.[4]

Numerous cities are located across Ariel, including: Gossamer, Codithian, North Hauer, South Hauer, Gohin, Tolli Basin, West Firebrand, Placious Caelum, Trident, Silver Fern, Bridgesbain, Nabokov Heights, Nikita, Guerenstradt, and Gorehaven. In addition to the urban centres, at least four major transport and commercial hubs; UAP Transport Hub, Matheson Docks, Piper Docks, and Mandellia Docks; serve the planet.[5] Ariel also boasts a bioluminescent lake that citizens and visitors alike are allowed to swim in.[4]

Ariel is also the location of the Fissatore, a large orbital drydock used by the Alliance to produce a range of vessels, including the Glory class.[5]

Government Edit

Ariel, like all planets under the authority of the Alliance, is governed by a planetary Governor. It is unknown what the electoral rules are on Ariel and therefore how governors are elected.


Behind the scenesEdit

Ariel was first shown in the Firefly episode of the same name, and was the principal setting for the episode, with much of the action taking place on the surface. Ariel later received a mention in the episode The Message. Ariel's history and specific characteristics were later expanded on by various official tie-in media.



Notes and referencesEdit

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