Before the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) 2006 demotion of Pluto, many schoolchildren remembered the solar system’s planetary progression with mnemonics, including “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas.” Following the IAU’s solar system tweaks, kids need a new memory aid.
Recently, National Geographic Children’s Books held a contest asking children to submit their new mnemonic. This inclusive contest asked kids to list dwarf-planets Ceres, Pluto, and Eris in the progression. Fourth-grader Maryn S. of Great Falls, Montana, won with “My Very Exciting Magic Carpet Just Sailed Under Nine Palace Elephants.” National Geographic will feature this memory aid in the upcoming book “11 Planets: A New View of the Solar System.” In addition, singer/songwriter Lisa Loeb will record a tune using this mnemonic. I thought the band They Might Be Giants had a stranglehold on the geek-pop song industry.
Great minds think alike. We ran a similar contest, announcing our winner October 26, 2006. Our competition was heartless, excluding the dwarf planets from the roster. Our staff selected Kyle S. of Lumberton, Mississippi, for his entry “My Violent Evil Monster Just Scared Us Nuts.” I would say we are a darker bunch than the folks over at National Geographic.