How Can You Memorize the Order of the Planets?

can-memorize-order-planets Credit: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Images/Getty Images

A popular way to memorize the order of the planets is to use a mnemonic device, such as "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nachos," as suggested by the International Astronomical Union. "My" is Mercury, "Very" is Venus, "Educated" is Earth, "Mother" is Mars, "Just" is Jupiter, "Served" is Saturn, "Us" is Uranus and "Nachos" is Neptune.

In 2008, the National Geographic Society selected a mnemonic device to account for the eight major planets and the three known dwarf planets at the time. The selected phrase reads, "My Very Exciting Magic Carpet Just Sailed Under Nine Palace Elephants" and was devised by the then 10-year-old Maryn Smith. The three dwarf planets included are Ceres, represented by "Carpet," Pluto, represented by "Palace," and Eris, represented by "Elephants." Two additional dwarf planets, Makemake and Haumea, can be included in the mnemonic phrase "My Very Excellent Mother Constantly Just Serves Us Nachos, Pizzas, Hamburgers, Meatballs and Eggplants." Prior to Pluto's reclassification, a common mnemonic device was "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas." Some educational resources advise teachers to encourage students to come up with their own mnemonic device for the planets. Another way to memorize the order of the planets, as suggested by National Geographic Kids, is through learning the song "11 Planets," which was composed and performed by Lisa Loeb.