Mary’s Violet Eyes

How did you remember the order of the planets when you were a kid? I learned this mnemonic: Mary’s violet eyes made John stay up nights painting. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto. Simple enough, right?

At least it used to be. Like so many other things, though, useful tools like the planetary mnemonic have to be reworked occasionally. Like when Pluto got demoted. Mary’s violet eyes could still make John stay up nights. He just wouldn’t be painting.

Alas, that too has changed. Pluto is back as a dwarf planet, along with Ceres and Eris. Not to worry, though. There’s a new mnemonic to help me remember it all: My Very Exciting Magic Carpet Just Sailed Under Nine Palace Elephants (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Eris). Sounds simple enough. I think I’ll file it away so that I’ll be smarter than the grandsons.

If they just don’t add any more Great Lakes or colors to the rainbow, the other mnemonics I have learned should be fine.


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