GREAT FALLS - A fourth-grader at Riverview Elementary has won the National Geographic planetary mnemonic contest, developing a handy way to remember the newly assigned 11 planets, including three dwarfs.
National Geographic Children's Books created the contest in response to the recent announcement by the scientific community that there are now 11 recognized planets - Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Eris. Ceres, Pluto and Eris are considered dwarf planets.
Maryn Smith's winning mnemonic is "My Very Exciting Magic Carpet Just Sailed Under Nine Palace Elephants."
Smith's mnemonic will be published in astronomer David Aguilar's next National Geographic book, "11 Planets: A New View of the Solar System." It also will be recorded into a song by Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Lisa Loeb. Both are scheduled to be released in March.