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Feb 12 2013

Name that dwarf planet moonlet!

Pluto

 

The debate about Pluto’s planetary status has simmered down, although I was always partial to the way Alan Stern, the Director of New Horizons mission to Pluto, explained it to me: it’s just a dwarf planet. We don’t call a small dog a different species just because they’re small, we just call it a miniature, something like that makes sense for Pluto and its cohorts like Sedna or Ceres. But we now know Pluto has two new moons, or dwarf moons or moonlets if we want to extend the debate, and SETI wants your help naming them!

LINK — Here is your chance to help out the scientific community. All you have to do is come up with the winning names for two of our solar system’s moons. The SETI Institute is asking for the public’s help to name two recently discovered moons orbiting the dwarf planet Pluto. Right now, astronomers are using the names “P-4″ and “P-5″ to identify the tiny moons.

The scientists who first spotted the moons are asking people to submit ideas for names, which will then be offered to the International Astronomic Union. That is the worldwide group of astronomers who make final decisions on naming any stars, planets and other extra-terrestrial objects in our solar system.

Can’t think of your own name? You can also choose from a group of names astronomers already came up, like Acheron, Hypnos or Styx. You can see that list of names or send your naming ideas by going to this website (URL: http://on.wews.com/XGh4s3).

19 comments

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  1. 1
    richardelguru

    I suppose everyone will think of Mickey and Minny?

  2. 2
    The Lorax

    @1,

    … well, NOW I am…

  3. 3
    Alverant

    How about Hewy and Dewey saving Lewey for when P-6 is discovered. (Forward thinking people, let’s be ready for the future.)

  4. 4
    busterggi

    Just did the write-in thing. I’m nominating Tantalus and Sysiphus – two of Hades best known inhabitants, doomed forever to repeat actions that never finish, i.e.: metaphorically going in circles.

  5. 5
    justsomeguy

    Right now it’s just Pluto and Charon, right? I like the hell theme they’ve got going on, and also the multiculturalism of mixing Greek and Roman mythology. So why not mix it up a little? Maybe Anubis, Nergal, Hel, Mictlantecuhtli, or Morrigan? So many gods to browse!

  6. 6
    richardelguru

    Buster: Oh! that’s good!

  7. 7
    Didaktylos

    Cerberus and Persephone

  8. 8
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Piper Alpha and The Big Lebowski..

  9. 9
    Randomfactor

    Sun and Myung.

  10. 10
    Scr... Archivist

    I voted for Cerberus and Obol. Since these are small moons, they should be named for small things like dogs and coins.

    Thanks for posting this link, Andrew.

  11. 11
    thebookofdave

    Looks like they are considering only Greek or Roman mythological figures, so I picked Hypnos, and submitted Thanatos.

  12. 12
  13. 13
    The Lorax

    Stewart and Colbert have to be nominated, just so we can get some good media shenanigans.

  14. 14
    lordshipmayhem

    Chip and Dale.

  15. 15
    Aliasalpha

    Barker & Corbett?
    Mitchell & Webb?
    Fry & Laurie?

  16. 16
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Cheers for this.

    To misquote Dr Suess : “A planet’s a planet no matter how small.”

    Reckon that applies to Pluto and its ice dwarf comrades (Eris, Haumea Sedna) alike.

    Pluto remains my personal favourite planet. For whatever little it might be worth. It also boosts more moons and more atmosphere than Mercury – and more moons than all three inner solar system planets put together.

    Can’t wait to see it close up in 2015.

  17. 17
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    <blockquotePluto also boosts more moons and more atmosphere than Mercury – and more moons than all three inner solar system planets put together.

    Make that *four* dangnabbit. I’m too drunk already. Sigh.

  18. 18
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    PS. Cerberus and Persephone get my votes here although Cerberus and his merely two-headed ,i>(as opposed to three)brother Orthrus have a certain apt appeal too.

  19. 19
    movablebooklady

    I chose Eurydice and Persephone, both of whom were in Hades/Pluto’s realm because of males. Also because we need more female names. And of course, I want to watch the wrangling over the pronunciations, esp. of Eurydice.

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