AST 101: The Great Mnemonic Contest
There are certain things in astronomy that you just have to memorize, like
the spectral types of the stars, or the order of the planets in the solar
system, or the orer of colors in the electromagnetic spectrum. One
proven tool for remembering sequences of letters is the use of
mnemonics, easily remembered phrases which can prod your memory.
Typical sequences and mnemonics are:
- The spectral sequence O B A F G K M. The classic mnemonic is
Oh Be A Fine Girl,
You may replace
girl with guy, depending on your sexual orientation,
without changing the sense of the mnemonic.
extend the spectral sequence by adding the R N and S stars,
cool variants of M giants. Extend the mnemonic by adding
Right Now, Sweetie!
The original sequence has been extended to include brown dwarfs, with
spectral types L, T, and Y.
Other favorite mnemonics for the spectral sequence include:
Old, Bald, And Fat
Generals Keep Mistresses
Oh Boy, An F Grade
Kills Me., and
Only Boring, Astronomers Find Gratitude
Can you do better (previous winners are listed below)?
Can you create a mnemonic for
the full O B A F G K M L T Y spectral sequence?
- The planets, in order of mean distance from the Sun, are:
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
The classic mnemonic for remembering this sequence, back when Pluto was a
My Very Excellent Mother
Just Sent Us Nine Pies.
What can you suggest? If you think Pluto is not a planet, drop the P.
- The colors in the rainbow
(the optical spectrum), Red, Orange, Yellow,
Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet are remembered in the classic
ROY G. BIV.
- The electro-magnetic spectrum, Gamma-ray, X-ray, Ultra-violet,
Visible (or Optical), Infra-red, Sub-millimeter, Radio (GXUVISR) needs
a mnemonic. (GXUVISR).
The X will make this difficult!
- Anyone enrolled in AST 101 may enter. You may enter as often as you like.
- Anonymous entries will be accepted, but cannot be awarded any prizes.
- Entries must be in English.
- Entries deemed obscene, racist, or in extremely poor taste will be
- Entries are due, either on paper or by
no later than 5:00 PM on Friday March 15.
- Entries may be delivered to your instructor or to your TA.
- All decisions are final.
- The winning entries will be announced in class on Friday, March 29. The
winning author(s) will be awarded worthless, but tasteful, prizes.
The 2013 OBAFGKM Entries
- Oscar Be A Friend Go Kiss Maria
- O 'hes Being A Fruitcake, Gonna Knockout Mister Larry Thomas Yaittes
- Oven Bake And Fire Grill Kepler Meat
- Only Boring Astronomers Fight Green Killer Martians.
- Oh Boy! A Furious Goat kicked Mule.
- Only Because Astronomers Fail Greatly Knowing Many Luminous Types, Yo
- Offensive Bears Attack! Fearsome Growls! Killing Many Lively Terrestrial Youth!
- Omniscient Babies Are Far Guiltier, Knowing Mom Loves to Yodel.
- Overconfidently Bruised Anarchists Followed Gentle Knights Minus Lonesome
- Only Brilliant Astronomers Fix Grave Kepler Mistakes
- Observable Bright Apparent Formed Giants Keep Magnitude
- Only Bob Ate Fresh Gummy Karate Monkeys
- Old Bears Are Fighting Great King Marcus
- Over Bridges Are Floating gorillas kissing Maidens
- Old Bald and Fat Guys Kiss More Laddies Than You
Other 2013 Entries
- Man! Various Enemies Made Jaguars Super Undefeatable Now!
- Many Vegetarians Eat Meat, Just to Stop Under- Nourishment!
- Manly Vacations Exclude Mailing Junipers South, Upsetting Northerners.
- My Very Exclusive Mother Just Said the Usually No
- Rakish Obliging Youthes Guarded Big Icarus Violently.
- Rich Obedient Yuppies Gored Bruised Irishmen Vastly.
- Rudely Oily Yummy Goblins Briefed Itchy Vader.
- Really? Only You Get Broke In Vegas
- Great Xavier Usually Vacations In Sunny Resorts
- Good, X Usually Verifies Its Situated Right-here
- Golden Xylophonic Usher Validated Inexpensive Socrates Reassuringly.
- Gleefully Xanthic Ultimate Vamps Impaled Shaggy R2-d2.
- Gentle Xenophobic User Vilified Icy Supergirl Restfully.
- Gentle Xylophones Underestimated Opera Including Sleepy Robocop.
The 2013 Winners
- Astronomer's Award: Only Brilliant Astronomers Fix Grave Kepler Mistakes
- Cannibal Award: Oven Bake And Fire Grill Kepler Meat
- Why we do this Award: Only Boring Astronomers Fight Green Killer Martians.
- Personal Vendetta Award: O 'hes Being A Fruitcake, Gonna Knockout Mister Larry Thomas Yaittes
- Dick Cheney Warmongerer Award: Offensive Bears Attack! Fearsome Growls! Killing Many Lively Terrestrial Youth!
- Most Interesting Fantasy Award: Over Bridges Are Floating gorillas kissing Maidens
- The Supreme Court Rebuttal Award: Old Bald and Fat Guys Kiss More Laddies Than You
- Grand Prize: Oscar Be A Friend Go Kiss Maria
- Grand Prize in the Roy G. Biv category:
Really? Only You Get Broke In Vegas
- Grand Prize in the Planet category:
Many Vegetarians Eat Meat, Just to Stop Under- Nourishment!
The 2011 Winners
- Couldda been a contenda for the most topical award award: Our bombs Always frighten King Moammar
- Gross-out award: Old Bathwater Actually Feels Good. Kidding! ...Mostly
- Whatever turns you on award: Ordinarily Brides Are Foolish Girls Kissing Men, Like Totally Yuck
- Fashion statement award: Oh Boy, Are Fanny-packs Getting Killer Mod
- Possibly Relevant award: Only Bad Astronomers For Get Kepler's Measurements
- Cinephile award: O Bubba And Forrest Gump, Kind Men
- TA runnerup award: Oh Brave Arthur Fought Giants Killing Merlin
- TA favorite award: Over By Australia, Farmers Give Kangaroos Money
- Grand Prize: On Betelgeuse Astronomers Find Galactic Kings Making Lovely Tangerine Yogurts
The 2007 Winners
- Wrong Subject Award: Reading Over Your Geology Book Is Valuable.
- Harry Potter Award: Murderous Voldemort executes muggles jubilantly,
surely upsetting Neville & Potter.((Jaclyn Cacioli)
- True Love Award: Odd, But All Frogs Get Kind Maids to Love Them.
- Isaac Newton Award: One bad apple falls, giving Kelly many lumps, throbbing!(Aimee Mendoza)
- Grand Prize: Oranges, Bananas, And Fresh Grapes Keep My Legs Trim.
The 2005 Winners
- Most Artistic: Oh Boy, A Furry Green Kiwi-Monster
- Most Classical: O, Beware and Fear Gold, King Midas
- Most Personal: Only Big And Fat Guys Kiss Me
- Most Expansive: Orion Battles across Far Galaxies Killing Martians
- Most Nutritious: Oranges Bananas Apples For Guilt-free Kind Meal
- Best Excuse: Only Because a Fat Guy Kicked Me
- Second Runner Up (and sweetest): One Boy And Five Girls Kissed Mom
- First Runner Up: Oil, Bush, and Fox got Kerry Marginalized
- Grand Prize: Observatories beat all for getting knowledgeable material
The 2004 Winners
- For suggesting the prize: Our Best Acronym Finalist Gets Kraft Macaroni
- Most Topical: October: Bush Administration Finally Gives Kerry Mercy!
- Most Patriotic: Only Brave American Fighters Give Killers Mercy
- Most Optimistic: Over Being A Failure, Grades Keep Moving
- Second Runner Up: One Bright Afternoon, Father Gently Kissed Mother
- First Runner Up: Older babes are fairly good kissing machines
- Grand Prize: Old, Bald, Angry. Finally Great Kong May Look Tough!