Have you ever heard of a mnemonic device? No, it isn’t that thing your doctor uses to hold down your tongue when you say “ahhh.” A mnemonic device is a little trick that helps us to remember something which we might not otherwise be able to remember. You might be wondering what this has to do with space or why we’re talking about it on the space log today. Well, one of the most well-known mnemonic devices has to do with space. More specifically, it has to do with the planets in our solar system and their order from the sun.
The planets are aligned in this order: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune (& formerly Pluto…not considered a planet by some scientists & considered a planet by others). [For the purposes of this mnemonic, we will include Pluto but tune in for another blog post about the issues surrounding it!] Instead of trying to remember the planets’ names in the order they exist from the sun, it is much easier to remember a silly sentence. What makes the sentence a mnemonic is giving each word in the sentence the first letter of each planet, in their order.
The first letters of the planets in order are: M, V, E, M, J, S, U, N, & P. You can make up your own silly sentence or try one of ours: My very energetic mother just served up nine pizzas orMary’s velvet elephant just sat under Nick’s porch. The examples are pretty much endless if you get creative. Another popular mnemonic is Roy G. Biv (each letter stands for a color in the spectrum as they appear to make up a rainbow…red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, & violet). There are all kinds of silly mnemonics, but they can come in very handy when you are trying to remember something important.