Before it’s gone

29 11 2010


Read the reviews.  Add one yourself.  :o)


How to remember the Zodiac!

7 11 2010

So I asked the greater planetarium community last week for whatever mnemonics they use to remember the order of the Zodiacal constellations.  As a reminder, the constellations are:

Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpius, Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius, Pisces

It’s a lot of words.  Any mnemonic would be really long as well.  Memorizing that mnemonic would probably take more effort than just memorizing the list.  Still, I was optimistic.

However, what I got back from them wasn’t exactly memorable.

Now given, what responses I got were well thought out and creative, no doubt.  They just weren’t really — memorable.  For instance, I received one response that read, “A Tense Grey Cat Lay Very Low, Sneaking Slowly, Contemplating a Pounce.”

That one would be the easiest to remember by far!  The problem is in the flow of the thing.  Remember the one about the planets?  “My very eager mother just served us nine pizzas.”  See how the rhythm makes all the difference?

So I took myself to task to create a mnemonic device on my own!  Turns out that’s a lot harder than it sounds.  I spent a good part of my weekend staring at my keyboard and perusing a thesaurus.  In the end, none of the ones I came up with flowed at all.  None.  I’m a failure at writing catchy mnemonics it seems.

But…  (hehe)  after much frustration I *did* happen to make a few slightly more memorable!  Here’s what I came up with:

Around Thanksgiving, grandpas condone letting vivacious little spry sprouts carve a pumpkin.

Active tectonic gyrations could launch volcanic lava skyward, surely causing a panic.

Any time granny covets Leo’s vegan lunch, she should cut a pizza.

Antsy tribbles give captains love.  Valued lush Scottie shouts, “Cut all power!”

As trusty gopher Chekov locates vessels, logical Spock studies cute aquarium personnel.

Anakin truly gone, corrupt Lord Vader labeled Solo-shaped carbonite, “Airmail Parcel.”

After Tatooine, grouchy Chewbacca luckily veered left steering safely clear around Porkins.

Acid trips give class lectures vivid life something something …cool astral plane!

Obviously, I should’ve spent more time getting actual work done.  But what I ended with is one that I really might try to memorize for personal use.  It seems the most …relevant.

“A time gone, cowboys loved viewing little stars, so cold and pretty.”

Umm, now that I think about it, I think I’ll go for the “Leo the vegan” one instead.


Update:  It’s been many years since I wrote this, and I have to say that last one has stuck with me!  Thank you to the folks who have added their own.  The key to making astronomy accessible to the public is to make it easy to remember what the sky looks like from night to night.  Clear skies!