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Vote to Name Pluto’s Moons!

"Would ya give these guys a name already?"

“Would ya give these guys names already?”

I’ve written about this a couple of times before and put up polls here on Lights in the Dark, but now it’s actually semi-official: you can vote on the names for Pluto’s newest moons!

(Looks like they may have taken some of our earlier suggestions too!)

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Here’s Something Else to Vote On: Names for Pluto’s Newest Moons!

Hubble image of the newly-expanded Pluto family (NASA, ESA and M. Showalter/SETI)

Since we’re all in the democratic mood here today in the U.S., how about another chance to put your vote in on something: names for Pluto’s newest moons!

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Poll: What Should We Name Pluto’s New Moon?

Pluto's three known moons plus P4, a new discovery.

As announced earlier this week, scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope have identified a new moon orbiting Pluto. This brings the number of known moons orbiting the dwarf planet to 4. Currently designated “P4” the International Astronomical Union will likely decide on an official name soon…what do you think it should be?

Here’s some of my favorite choices. Following the tradition of keeping with Greek mythology, all are in reference to denizens of the underworld (of which Pluto was in command of….even though that was the Latinized name for Hades.)

PS: I’ve contacted SETI Institute’s Mark Showalter and alert him to this poll…so perhaps your vote will help the decision process!

UPDATE: Since it seems that Persephone, Cerberus and Rhadamanthus have already been taken by asteroids, the best choices on the list are (again, in my opinion) Hypnos and Thanatos. Hypnos was the son of the goddess Nyx (another of Pluto’s moons) and Thanatos was his brother. I am also adding a couple more…Erebus and Phobetor, both also sons of Nyx (busy lady!)

Pluto’s New Moon

Long-exposure image from Hubble showing Pluto's three known moons plus P4, a new discovery.

Scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope have identified a new moon in orbit around distant Pluto. Estimated to be between 8 to 21 miles (13 to 31 km) in diameter the moon has been designated P4… at least until a more fitting name can be decided upon.

P4 lies between the orbits of Nix and Hydra, two moons discovered in 2005. It completes an orbit around Pluto about every 31 days.

Pluto’s largest moon Charon is 648 miles (1,043 km) across. Nix and Hydra are each about 20 to 70 miles (32 to 113 km) wide.

Read the press release here.

Credit: NASA, ESA and M. Showalter (SETI Institute)

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