Name that moon


Want to name Pluto’s two tiniest moons? Then you’ll need to dig deep into mythology. Astronomers announced a contest last week to name the two itty-bitty moons of Pluto discovered during the past two years.

Pluto is the Roman equivalent of the Greek Hades, lord of the underworld, and its three bigger moons have related mythological names: Charon, the ferryman of Hades; Nix for the night goddess; and the multiheaded monster Hydra. The two unnamed moons need similarly shady references. Right now, they go by the bland titles of P4 and P5.

Online voting will end Feb. 25. Twelve choices are available at the Web site Among the choices: Hercules, the hero who slew Hydra; Obol, the coin put in the mouths of the dead as payment to Charon; Cerebrus, the three-headed dog guarding the gates of the underworld; Orpheus, the musician and poet who used his talents to get his wife, Eurydice, out of the underworld only to lose her by looking back; and Styx, the river to the underworld. The vote tally is updated hourly.

Select your favorite name, or even better, come up with your own!.


9 comments on “Name that moon

  1. That is really cool that astronomers are giving the the public the opportunity to decide the names of Pluto’s two moons. I personally wouldn’t now which to choose since I’m not really good with mythology, I guess I would just go with Obol.


  2. I think it is really important that the Astronomers give the public the opportunity to vote and they have different choices. I voted Orpheus and Eurydice because it sounds interesting.


  3. This is awesome! Thanks to the Astronomers for giving the opportunity to the public to vote and have a say on the matter. My first choice was Obol. It makes sense to me, since you ca relate money/coin with Charon. My second choice was Styx. You can relate it with Stygian, which was the river that formed boundary with earth and the underworld.
    Aurelio Miralda


  4. It’s really great that we get to vote! I voted for Cerebrus and Obol, but then looked at the tallies and found Vulcan high in the running. I may go back and vote again.
    Lynn Guest


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