Knowing I struggle to remember the sequence of the planets, my daughter found this fun bracelet to help me. It represents our solar system, with a stone for every planet.
I considered various mnemonics to go with it. I liked ‘My Very Educated Mother Just Served Up Nine Pizzas’ – but I had to tweak it to help me remember which M is for Mars:
‘My Very Educated MA Just Served Up Nine Pizzas.’
So now I can run my fingers over the beads and recite:
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune…
But there’s no stone for Pluto – only a few densely-speckled beads representing the Kuiper Belt.
Pluto was, controversially, downgraded to a ‘dwarf planet’ in 2006, so my bracelet makers have omitted it. Sadly, we can’t have ‘Nine Pizzas’ without Pluto. It has to be Nachos instead:
‘My Very Educated MA Just Served Up Nachos.’
Apparently, Pluto is so small, if we call it a planet, we could count over 100 planets in our solar system – enough for a whole necklace of pretty stones. Now that would be quite a mnemonic!
Oliver Jeffers has sketched the solar system in his heart-warming picture book, ‘Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth’. He’s labelled Pluto as ‘our favourite dwarf planet’, which seems like the very best way to describe it.