Two previously unknown moons of Pluto, with the temporary names “P4” and “P5,” were recently discovered, and now the public has a chance to vote on what to name them!
One of the 21 proposed names on the ballot is Vulcan, which in the Star Trek universe is the name of Mr. Spock’s home world. Head over to the SETI website Pluto Rocks and cast your vote for Vulcan, which is actually in the lead right now, with Cerberus and Styx following close behind.
William Shatner, who played starship Captain James T. Kirk on the original Star Trek television series and movies, is actually the person who suggested that Vulcan, which is the name of the Roman god of lava and smoke, and the nephew of Pluto, be added to the ballot. Shatner has been tweeting the link out to plutorocks.com, urging his followers to vote for Vulcan, in hopes that the International Astronomical Union (IAU) will actually choose the name.
Let’s hope the IAU thinks Vulcan is a good name.MBB
Pluto, which was demoted from being the ninth planet in our solar system down to a dwarf planet in 2006 after the discovery of a larger body, Eris, now has 5 known moons: Charon, Nix, Hydra, and now P4 and P5. Pluto’s name comes from the ruler of the underworld in classical mythology (Pluto is the Roman name for the Greek god Hades), and its moons are similarly named, all pertaining to ancient Greek and Roman tales of Hades and the Underworld. All 21 proposed monikers for the two celestial bodies also follow this naming convention. My pick for the second moon is definitely Styx, as its commonly associated with the Underworld, plus I love the band.
Below is a list of the 21 names, which you can read a little bit about here. So far, over 32,000 votes have been cast in total. Once the voting closes (on February 25), the most popular entries will be presented to the IAU, which will then make the decision.
Ground Rules:Feel free to come back, but please do not vote more than once per day, just so everybody gets a fair chance to make their opinion known. We will take your votes and suggestions into consideration when we propose the names for P4 and P5 to the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Voting ends at noon EST on Monday, February 25th, 2013.
FYI: Pluto DOES rock! And good luck to both Vulcan and Styx.