Pluto’s New Moons Gets Greek Mythical Names

Pluto’s New Moons Gets Greek Mythical NamesThere has been a lot of buzz surrounding the new names of Pluto’s two tiny moons that have been orbiting the dwarf planet for many years now. So far the two tiny moons had no names and International Astronomical Union has confirmed that they are naming the two moons as Styx and Kerberos. The IAU selected the name based on the results of the Pluto Rocks Internet poll that was sponsored by SETI also known as Search for Extraterrestial Intelligence. However, the strange thing about the poll is that the top vote went for the name Vulcan which was not selected by the IAU.

Actor William Shatner who acted as Starship Enterprise Captain James T. Kirk in the original Star Trek TV series suggested the name Vulcan to the IAU and it was a possible candidate as the name got overwhelming response as more and more people cast their vote for Vulcan. According to SETI, more than 500,000 votes were cast and Vulcan managed to secure around 170,000 votes alone. Cerberus along with Styx took the third position and Vulcan was the clear winner that emerged in the poll. However, IAU said that they had given serious thought to the name Vulcan that received the most votes and that also shares the name of Roman God of Volcanoes. However, IAU officials stated that the name Vulcan has already been used in astronomy. SETI officials also said that Pluto is not closely associated with Roman God and therefore this proposal was rejected by IAU.

Explaining more about how Pluto’s moons should be named in the future as well IAU said that Pluto connects with the underworld mythological characters as Pluto is known as the ruler of the underworld in ancient mythos. IAU decided to pick the name Cerberus which is a three head dog in Roman mythology but again to cut off the Roman connection IAU officials tweaked the name to Kerberos which is the Greek equivalent of Cerberus. Styx managed to secure 88,000 votes finishing on the third spot and IAU officials had no issues with it as Styx is the river that separates the living from the dead in ancient mythos. Currently, scientists have discovered five moons orbiting Pluto. Charon is the largest of all and was first spotted in 1978, followed by Nix and Hydra that were discovered and named in the year 2005. Scientists said that there are two new moons that they have discovered which they will focus on in 2015 when NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft launches.


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Jyotsna Ramani is a passionate writer and an avid globetrotter. She had a knack for writing since her early years, though that was mostly letters to her penpals and jotting her thoughts down in her "Dear Diary". Over the years, she realized how her hobby could turn into a full time career and she started writing web content, books and pieces for local magazines. There has been no looking back ever since. Follow Jyotsna Ramani at Google+

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