Pluto was declassified as a planet in August 2006. The mnemonic device for remembering the order of the planets from the sun had been “My Very Educated Mother Served Us Nine Pizzas.” With Pluto removed, the mnemonic went Tex-Mex with “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nachos.” The “nacho” version became popular on August 24, 2006, but it had been mentioned in Google Groups in 2001.
Planet mnemonics have been used since at least the early 1900s.
Wikipedia: Planetary mnemonic
A planetary mnemonic is a phrase used to remember the planets (and sometimes dwarf planets) of the Solar System with the order of the words corresponding to the increasing sidereal periods of the bodies.
The traditional English-language mnemonic for many years was My Very Energetic Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto). But, some people liked to use “My Very Educated Mother Just Showed Us Nine Planets” or “My Very Energetic Mother Jumps Skateboards Under Nana’s Patio” (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto). Another mnemonic was My Very Easy Method Just Speeds Up Naming Planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto). However, MVEMJSUNP was made obsolete by the 2006 definition of planet, which reclassified Pluto (and Ceres and Eris) as dwarf planets.
The International Astronomical Union suggested a revised mnemonic, My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nachos, for the eight planets recognized under the new definition.
Canada News, 8-24-2006
Pluto’s new status great way to teach kids about change in science, educators say
By JULIE SCOTT
TORONTO (CP) - So much for My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas. The mnemonic that the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre uses to help kids learn the names of the planets no longer applies, now that Pluto has officially been kicked out of the club.
Trish Pattison, education co-ordinator at the Vancouver-based facility, says she and her colleagues have been trying to come up with a new mnemonic that eliminates the P.
“We might have to shorten that to Just Served Us Nachos or something,” she said with a chuckle Thursday. “That’s what we were talking about this morning.”
“My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us...Nachos”
by O. Kay Henderson
An Iowa State University professor is at the meeting where the world’s leading astronomers voted to demote the planet Pluto.
Iowa State University physics and astronomy professor Lee Anne Willson voted with the majority to change the definition of what a planet is. That makes Pluto a mere “dwarf-planet.” Willson’s at the International Astronomical Union in Prague and has emailed her faculty colleagues back in Ames, including Steve Kawaler. “The basic shape of the solar system changed today,” Kawaler says.
So, now that Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are the names of the planets in the Solar System, it means that sentence many of us memorized to remember the order of the planets is antiquated. “It was My Very Educated Mother Just Served...Us Nine Pizzas,” Kawaler says. Kawaler’s quick suggestion for a replacement word to end that sentence is “Nachos.”
Planet Pluto no more
BY BRYN NELSON
Newsday Staff Writer
August 25, 2006
Richard Binzel, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the meeting’s planet definition committee, expressed relief that your fate has finally been decided.
And at least you fared better than Charon, which has been “sent back to committee.”
Nevertheless, your absence will be keenly felt in the memorized mantras of students trying to keep their planets straight. Binzel proposed the slightly updated mnemonic device, “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nachos.”
Google Groups: sci.astro.amateur, sci.astro.planetarium
From: dennis jennings
Date: Sat, Jan 27 2001 8:51 am
you mean that “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzapies” has to be redone to “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nachos and cheese”
15 October 1917, Warren (PA) Evening Mirror, “Names of the Planets,” pg. 8:
Mr. Ellison Hawkes in a little book about the stars tells how you can easily remember the names of the planets in the, proper order, beginning with the one that is nearest to the sun. He has made a sentence the words of which begin with the same letters as the names of the planets in this order. The sentence is: Men Very Easily Make Jugs Serve Useful Needs. The names of the planets are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune.
11 December 1929, Manitoba Free Press, “Uncle Ray’s Corner,” pg. 22:
Here is a way to remember the names of those planets in the order of their distance from the sun. Repeat this sentence: MEN VERY EARLY MADE JARS STAND UP NEATLY.
29 March 1933, Oakland (CA) Tribune, “Strange as it Seems” by John Hix, pg. 7:
It is as easy to remember the names of the planets in order of their distance from the sun, as to remember a name. VEM J. SUN represents Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune; Mercury being the nearest to the sun.
14 March 1934, Winnipeg Free Press, pg. 8:
Do you find it hard to remember the order of the planets in their distance from the sun?
If so, you may find it helpful to use a “memory sentence.” Here is such a sentence: “Men Very Early Made Jars Serve Up New Potatoes.”
The initial letter in each word in that sentence is the first letter in the name of a planet. Thus we may write it this way: “Men (Mercury), Very (Venus), Early (Earth), Made (Mars), Jars (Jupiter), Serve (Saturn), Up (Uranus), New (Neptune), Potatoes (Pluto).”
If you get the sentence clearly in mind, I think you will have little trouble in remembering the order of the planets, Mercury being closest to the sun and Pluto farthest away. There are two “M’s” but Men starts with “ME,” the same as Mercury; and Made with “MA,” the same as Mars.
A similar memory sentence, told to me by a friendly reader, was used in the old days before the planet Pluto was known. The sentence was, “Mary’s Violet Eyes Made John Stay Up Nights. ["Plenty" was later added—ed.]
April 1942, Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, vol. 36, “Calendar Mnemonics and Mnemonic Calendars” by C. E. White, pg. 133
In astronomy we have the name M. Vem J. Sun which assists in remembering the names of the planets and their order from the sun.
6 January 1961, Appleton (WI) Post-Crescent, pg. A12:
Mary Birgin of Kaukauna has her own means of remembering the planets, too. She does it this odd way.
Take the first letter of each word in this sentence, says Miss Birgin, and you’re okay:
Mark’s Very Extravagant Mother Just Sent Us Ninety Parakeets.
This should recall to you the planets in this order: Mars, Venus, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
16 September 1966, Austin (MN) Daily Herald, pg. 4?
A SIXTH grade teacher in another city has an idea that some pupils and teachers may want to use. The major planets according to their distance from the sun are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. So to make it easy to remember this, all you have to do is remember the simple phrase: “My very educated mother just served us nine pickles.”
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (1) Comments • Wednesday, August 30, 2006 • Permalink
My Very Energetic Mother Just Sat Up Near Pluto