Great Falls, Montana, fourth-grader Maryn Smith won a National Geographic contest to create a “mnemonic” for remembering the ELEVEN planets of our solar system. Eleven? Yes. It seems that the “scientific community” (I’m not sure what that means, so I used quotes) now recognizes that our solar system contains EIGHT full-sized planets and THREE dwarf planets. Her winner: My Very Exciting Magic Carpet Just Sailed Under Nine Palace Elephants. (It was inspired by Aladdin’s rug.) Here are the planets, in order: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres (dwarf), Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto (dwarf) and Eris (dwarf). I think there is still some argument about what constitutes a planet versus an asteroid, but I just think it is a cool thing for a kid from Great Falls to win. To top it off, singer/songwriter Lisa Loeb will record a song using the mnemonic. The National Geographic book 11 Planets: A New View of the Solar System will be published in March and will include Maryn Smith’s mnemonic.
Just heard from daughter, LeeAnn, that she and the two grand-girls, Madison and Isabella, are on their way from Salt Lake City to Missoula for a weekend visit. And…Madi wants me to take her to climb to the “M” on Mount Sentinel! Hope it won’t be too cold or windy or rainy or muddy or slippery.
We may have to take along a big apple fritter for energy. Will be sure to take a camera for what may be a “one-time” event. Ha Ha.
Oh, and it’s time to renew Fishing and Conservation Licenses for the 2008 season. Last year’s licenses expire on Feb 29. You can obtain a new license or renew at the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks website. I intend to get out on the river as soon as it warms up a little. (I never have been a cold-weather sportsman.)