Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Martha Visits Every Monday Just Stays Until Noon Period


Remember the mnemonic phrase to conjure up the order of our solar system's planets? Sure you do (read the blog's headline.) Much has changed since Astronomy 101 days and this phrase is no longer valid.

Our local solar system consists primarily of the Sun, planets, comets and asteroids. People in charge of keeping order between what-was-once-so and what-is-now decided the outer most planet, Pluto was not large enough to still be classified as a planet. Protest ensued. In the end the icy rock chunk named after the popular Disney character, was demoted to proto-planet status or something like that. About that same time a new ice rock called Sedna was discovered. This cold world is almost Pluto size and orbits further out than the former ninth planet. Today research continues in identifying more solar system member possibilities including the search for whatever still tugs on Neptune - could be the so called Planet X or other matter.

So where does that leave us in the quest to remember the solar system order? For now its just "Martha Visits Every Monday, Just Stays Until Noon" for the  Mercury-Venus-Earth-Mars-Jupiter-Saturn-Uranus-and Neptune alignment. No doubt more planet objects in our solar system will be identified beyond Neptune and the memory aid will be adjusted again. Stand by. Know that.