A mnemonic is a clever and creative way to remember something, using a pattern, sentence, or phrase. You may use “ROY G BIV” to remember the spectrum of light: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. Some people use “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nachos” to recall the order of the planets starting closest to the sun: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
Recalling Star Classifications
In Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin’s day, people used a mnemonic to remember the classifications of the stars, a system developed by Harvard’s Annie Jump Cannon. The color classes from hottest to coolest are O (blue), B (bluish), A (blue-white), F (white), yellow-white (G), orange (K), and red (M), as you can see in the image below. You can learn more about star classification at ScienceNotes.org.
In those days, they used the mnemonic, “Oh, Be A Fine Girl Kiss Me” to remember the star classes. Today, some have updated it to “Old Bob Always Favors Green Ketchup More.”
Can you think on another mnemonic to remember star classes?
Is there something else you want to remember? Could you develop a mnemonic to help you remember it? Now draw a picture to accompany your phrase.
The Fire of Stars
Learn more about astronomer and astrophysicist Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, who discovered star ingredients, in THE FIRE OF STARS. The helped lay the foundation for future scientists to discover why stars have such tremendous energy and why they burn so brightly.