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Space Science

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

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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  • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @02:57PM (#44169055) Homepage Journal

    So what? The names used for celestial bodies all come from somewhere, we're all sick of millennia-old references from Greek culture.

    The Uranian system doesn't have Greek names - Oberon, Titania, Ariel, Umbriel, Puck, Miranda...

    And, of course, the Tellurian system doesn't either.

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

    by westlake ( 615356 ) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @03:37PM (#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.

  • Re:Shred of dignity (Score:4, Informative)

    by dan828 ( 753380 ) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @03:52PM (#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:4, Informative)

    by Antipater ( 2053064 ) on Tuesday July 02, 2013 @04:27PM (#44170031)
    Unless the StarGate has a personified form and wasn't just a gate (never saw any of the series), then not really. Rivers in Greek and Roman mythology were minor gods who could take bodily form. Styx, in her goddess form, was a character of moderate importance in the war between the gods and the Titans.

What this country needs is a good five cent ANYTHING!