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New Moons of Pluto Named Kerberos and Styx; Popular Choice 'Vulcan' Snubbed 194

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-have-defied-the-will-of-the-internet dept.
MarkWhittington writes "The International Astronomical Union announced on July 2, 2013 its picks to name the two recently discovered moons of Pluto, hitherto known as P4 and P5. They will now be known as Kerberos and Styx respectively. In Greek and Roman mythology Kerberos is the name of the mythological three headed hound that guards the entrance to the underworld. Styx is the name of the river that separated the underworld from the real world. The names, picked in a popular contest, were actually the second and third choices. The first choice was Vulcan, which was officially touted because it was the name of a Roman god who was a relative of Pluto's and was associated with fire and smoke. The real reason that Vulcan shot up to the top of the list was that was a choice by Star Trek fans in a campaign instigated by actor William Shatner, who played Captain James Kirk in the original series." Shatner is sad and may lead a revolt. Phil Plait wins the award for best headline for this news.
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New Moons of Pluto Named Kerberos and Styx; Popular Choice 'Vulcan' Snubbed

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  • Styx Rawks! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Sponge Bath (413667) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @01:20PM (#44168559)
    Why must you be such an angry young man?
    • Domo arigato
  • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby&comcast,net> on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @01:20PM (#44168563)

    Thankfully real space programs prefer to operate with a shred of dignity and class. Next thing you know we would have demands to name a moon somewhere after a character from Buffy the Vampire Slayer...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ArcadeMan (2766669)

      We demand to have a moon called Usagi, just to piss off people like you.

    • by White Flame (1074973) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @01:27PM (#44168667)

      Kerberos and Styx were the equivalent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters thousands of years ago.

    • by RDW (41497)

      No chance for Buffy if NASA wouldn't even name an ISS module 'Serenity', even when they thought up the name and it won the popular vote ('Colbert' excepted):

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tranquility_(ISS_module)#Naming_contest [wikipedia.org]

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      Thankfully real space programs prefer to operate with a pretext of a shred of dignity and class. Next thing you know we would have demands to name a moon somewhere after a character from Buffy the Vampire Slayer...

      Or a warrior princess...

      Whose moons are these, some stinkin' committee, which allowed a bunch of frauds to demote Pluto to "dwarf planet" with disgusting act of skulduggery?

    • Space Shuttle Enterprise (OV-101) wasnt named after the aircraft carrier........
      • Re:Shred of dignity (Score:4, Informative)

        by dan828 (753380) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @02:52PM (#44169701)
        Well, there were at least 6 ships named "Enterprise" in the US Navy, and the likelihood is that when Roddenberry was choosing the a name for his fictional vessel, he named it after either the WW2 Carrier (which was the most decorated warship in US history) or the newer Enterprise which was the US's first nuclear powered carrier. So pretty much, the shuttle was named after a US Navy ship, albeit indirectly.
    • Re:Shred of dignity (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Somebody Is Using My (985418) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @02:54PM (#44169723) Homepage

      Although if they are so interested in "dignity" and "class", then perhaps they shouldn't use a popularity contest to determine the results (or at least claim to be doing so, if they intend to ignore the results anyway).

      The people (or at least the subset of the people who care enough about this to actually vote) made their voice heard. Claiming first that their opinion is worth listening to by holding the contest and then ignoring it when the results don't match their expectations only makes the IAU look doubly foolish.

      • Although if they are so interested in "dignity" and "class", then perhaps they shouldn't use a popularity contest to determine the results

        They didn't.

        (or at least claim to be doing so, if they intend to ignore the results anyway).

        They didn't do this either. The rules of the naming vote were quite clear: the results would be considered, but would be non-binding.

        If you don't like the names they chose, then don't use them. You and your friends are free to call the moons anything you like.

  • Wrong names (Score:5, Funny)

    by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @01:21PM (#44168567)

    P4 should obviously have been named "FDIV" and P5 should have been "Core Solo".

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @01:23PM (#44168601)

    I am glad to finally see Styx get the recognition they deserve. I can't believe took this long though.

  • Moon? (Score:5, Funny)

    by RDW (41497) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @01:24PM (#44168619)

    That's no moon, that's a [ FRANCHISE ERROR DETECTED - Resetting]

  • by JustOK (667959) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @01:30PM (#44168709) Journal

    Don't blame me, I voted for Kang.

  • So if your system clock is off by more than 5 minutes, does Kerberos disappear?

    • by St.Creed (853824)

      If your own system clock is off, you disappear. But if the Global Solar Timer (GST) is off by more than 5 celestial minutes, then yes, Kerberos *does* disappear.

      Any more questions while I'm here? :)

  • Some contest (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wcrowe (94389) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @01:33PM (#44168759)

    1. I agree with the name choices because they make sense...

    However...

    2. What is the point of having a contest if you're not going to pick the winner?

    They should not hold a naming contest if they're just going to pick the names they want anyway.

    • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @01:40PM (#44168841)

      They should not hold a naming contest if they're just going to pick the names they want anyway.

      Sounds like voting in the USA and Canada.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because this way, it's democratic. That's how democracy works: the upper class lets you vote for what you want before doing what they want.

    • Re:Some contest (Score:5, Informative)

      by westlake (615356) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @02:37PM (#44169555)

      2. What is the point of having a contest if you're not going to pick the winner?
      They should not hold a naming contest if they're just going to pick the names they want anyway.

      The IAU makes these decisions.

      Showalter's contest was no more than a publicity stunt. That said, the rules were clear.

      For two weeks in February, anyone with a computer could vote for their favorite names, or suggest ideas of their own. The caveats: Names needed to represent characters bearing more than just a passing relation to Pluto, the Greek god of the underworld, and must not have already been bestowed upon a celestial solar system object.

      The People Have Spoken, and Pluto's Tiny Moons Have Names [wired.com]

      Vulcan --- Hephaestus --- god of fire and forge, fails on both counts.

    • by steelfood (895457)

      1) To solicit new names that may or may not be any good.
      2) To whittle the list of contenders down to a few from which they can then ultimately pick.

    • by BergZ (1680594)
      When I look up in the sky I do not want to see 'Urrectum'*!

      * I propose that if NASA must name things based on the most popular choice then eventually there will be a celestial body named Urrectum. It is inevitable.
      • by Rockoon (1252108)
        I'm fairly certain that even if NASA continues to pick the names themselves, that eventually they would be left with Urrectum as the best choice.
  • Good on them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dasher42 (514179) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @01:34PM (#44168773)

    Vulcan is Hephaistos, the god of the forge. He has fiery, volcanic imagery, which is why when some astronomers suspected that there might be a planet closer to the Sun than Mercury, Vulcan was the proposed name. Really, Trek fans, a tiny icy moon of Pluto's was not the place to name after Vulcan, no matter how much we like Spock.

    • by tverbeek (457094)
      As much as I love Star Trek, Vulcan would be a poor name for either of these objects: too cold. Kerberos and Styx are excellent choices to accompany Pluto.
      • by sconeu (64226)

        Do I need to get a ticket to get to Kerberos? Or a ticket granting ticket?

    • I agree. "Vulcan" would be an illogical choice for such cold places.

    • I absolutely agree and am very happy to see the IAU's decision . I winced every time I saw that one of Pluto's moons was going to be named Vulcan. Pluto's moons should be directly assosciated with darkness and the underworld. Vulcan was inappropriate, not simply for its Trek connections, but because (barring some truly exceptional discoveries by New Horizons) it is inappropriate to name a tiny, icy moon of a dwarf planet after the god of the forge. Save the name, Vulcan, for the first super-heated super-E
  • by nimbius (983462) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @01:35PM (#44168789) Homepage
    Vulcan was rejected because it shared its name with a hypothetical planet inside the orbit of Mercury, and also because, as god of the forge, Vulcan had little connection to the icy moons of Pluto.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      I'm pretty sure I've seen Styx and Kerberos as hypothetical planets.

      However, first they say it's not a planet and then they say it has moons..

    • Vulcan was rejected because it shared its name with a hypothetical planet inside the orbit of Mercury, and also because, as god of the forge, Vulcan had little connection to the icy moons of Pluto.

      You are correct. The choice of Vulcan for a name was highly illogical [youtube.com].

  • QOTD (Score:5, Funny)

    by Spottywot (1910658) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @01:36PM (#44168799)

    Shatner is sad

    Quote of the day.

  • I'm surprised he didn't get in on this to further tie his horrendous Star Trek movies to something else (as if Cadillacs, Asus notebooks, Burger king, Pepsi, and some kind of Watch weren't enough)....

    Although, according to Abram's "canon"; Vulcan has an icy (but habitable) moon, which is the only way Old Spock and Young Kirk could have witnessed the destruction of Vulcan.

  • Someone had Too Much Time On [Their] Hands
  • by night_flyer (453866) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @02:30PM (#44169467) Homepage

    serious question...

  • Can't wait till USA announces an expedition to the outer solar system to hack Kerberos.
  • Seems like that's a critical part of this story and the reason is not mentioned.

    • I could see for fear of trademark issues.

      Obviously the Star Trek owners have been pretty good about that sort of thing in the past, but maybe they just didn't want to risk it.

      Or... they're just really big fans of the new continuity and believe there is no longer any Vulcan :-)

      • by rossdee (243626)

        "I could see for fear of trademark issues."

        Seriously? I mean the Roman empire has prior art on Vulcan, so i don't think Paramount has any claim on that name.

  • Kerberos, or rather, Cerberus?

    Oh, and can't we keep it Roman in this Solar System? We still need the Greek names for the next system.

  • by wbr1 (2538558) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @03:35PM (#44170119)
    Im [pause] mad [pause] Scotty [pause] fire up the warp engines [pause] Uhura hail the IAU [pause] Starfleet [pause] anybody. Well get [pause] a landing party and beam [pause] over [pause] and fix [pause] this.

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