Thursday, November 19, 2009

Missing Pluto

Today it dawned on me that the planetary mnemonic we learned as children will no longer work since Pluto is no longer a planet. That Pluto is not a planet anymore is old news of course, but the uselessness of that old mnemonic hit me hard just now.

My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas


Now what should we use to help us memorize the order of the planets?

Asking this very question sent me on my way doing a Google search for "planetary mnemonic", and this is what I found:

The International Astronomical Union has suggested a revised mnemonic, namely, "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nachos."

(This phrase does not include dwarf planets, but there have been competitions looking for the best mnemonic for the planets and dwarf planets.)


Don said...

Whats so bad about sorting seeds? Sounds like a rather useful way to structure time.

Sophia said...

Hey, you don't like it? Take it up with Lucius Apuleius! ;)

Laurel Kornfeld said...

Pluto is still a planet. Only four percent of the IAU voted on the controversial demotion, and most are not planetary scientists. Their decision was immediately opposed in a formal petition by hundreds of professional astronomers led by Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto. One reason the IAU definition makes no sense is it says dwarf planets are not planets at all! That is like saying a grizzly bear is not a bear, and it is inconsistent with the use of the term “dwarf” in astronomy, where dwarf stars are still stars, and dwarf galaxies are still galaxies. Also, the IAU definition classifies objects solely by where they are while ignoring what they are. If Earth were in Pluto’s orbit, according to the IAU definition, it would not be a planet either. A definition that takes the same object and makes it a planet in one location and not a planet in another is essentially useless. Pluto is a planet because it is spherical, meaning it is large enough to be pulled into a round shape by its own gravity--a state known as hydrostatic equilibrium and characteristic of planets, not of shapeless asteroids held together by chemical bonds. These reasons are why many astronomers, lay people, and educators are either ignoring the demotion entirely or working to get it overturned. I am a writer and amateur astronomer and proud to be one of these people. You can read more about why Pluto is a planet and worldwide efforts to overturn the demotion on my Pluto Blog at

Don said...

People have to structure their time somehow.

jh said...

here it is

have you ever listened to
the planets
by gustav holst??

that'd be a meditation for you

i likes this planet thing



human being said...


me too was shocked when heard about this last year...

but think nothing has is still there... influencing the cosmos...

in Iran people believe that most of the time small and tiny things and beings are more powerful...

mania said...

interesting info on planetary mnemonic.