Two New Kinds of Mnemonic for the Solar System.

Universe Today website says:

First the quick facts: Our Solar System has eight “official” planets which orbit the Sun. Here are the planets listed in order of their distance from the Sun:

Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. An easy mnemonic for remembering the order is “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Noodles.”

If you add in the dwarf planets, Ceres is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, while the remaining dwarf planets are in the outer Solar System and in order from the Sun are Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris. There is, as yet, a bit of indecision about the Trans-Neptunian Objects known as Orcus, Quaoar, 2007 O10, and Sedna and their inclusion in the dwarf planet category.

A mnemonic for this list would be “My Very Educated Mother Could Just Serve Us Noodles, Pie, Ham, Muffins, and Eggs” (and Steak, if Sedna is included.)”

First new kind of mnemonic.

“My very educated mother could just serve us noodles.”

This is new only in being constrained to be fifteen syllables long. This is the first of the two new kinds of mnemonic of this article.

Fifteen syllables is important because nearly all my mnemonics are by design a multiple of five syllables long, for easy recall and counting off on the digits of one hand.

Second new kind of mnemonic.

Five syllables.

Is that really a mnemonic? I say it is. It is constrained to be exactly five syllables long, like most of my mnemonics. Just a ROY G BIV is a name, M Vem C J Sun is two names of two people. The important difference with Roy G Biv is that my mnemonic is constrained to be a certain number of syllables long.

M Vem C J Sun has the advantage of being very concises. Just five syllables and just thirteen characters including whitespace.

A disadvantage is that it is hard to learn. This might seem a fatal disadvantage for mnemonic, but I would disagree. The concision is so valuable that it makes it worthwhile to invest that extra work in memorizing it.

This would seem to be a new idea.

Why is the concision so valuable? Because it allows instant visualization of the initial letters of the nine names of the nine bodies orbiting the sun:

M V E M C J S U N

So this is a new kind of “high quality” mnemonic, that requires a higher investment of time and effort to memorize, but once mastered is more useful.

An easy to memorize, not very useful mnemonic like “My very educated mother could just serve us noodles” could be used to recall the harder but more useful mnemonic if it is forgotten.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

My favorite activity is learning new things.