Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Two More of Pluto's Moons are Named: Kerberos and Styx

Two moons around Pluto have just received their names. The ones named earlier were Charon (the biggest of them, about half the diameter of Pluto), Nix, and Hydra. Now Kerberos and Styx have joined the party. It's interesting that they went with Kerberos instead of Cerberus, given that the planet has a Roman name, rather than a Greek one. That decision was made "to avoid confusion with an asteroid called 1865 Cerberus."

William Shatner led a movement on the web to name the moon Vulcan. I am quite glad that it failed to persuade the International Astronomical Union. That name should be held in reserve for the first habitable planet around the star 40 Eridani A. Such a planet may very well exist.

Even that may not receive the name, however, as it was earlier assigned to a non-existent planet of our own sun.

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