Names Of Pluto’s Newly Discovered Moons To Be Named By Public Voting

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By Gopi Chandra Kharel | February 12, 2013 9:35 PM EST

Pluto's two new moons that are currently called "P4" and "P5" are in need of permanent names. And what else could be a better way to reach a decision than to let the general public vote for the names?

Astronomers for SETI institute who had discovered the two smallest moons have urged the general public to vote amongst 12 names they have given as ballot options in their special website designed exclusively for this cause.

As is the case with Pluto itself and rest of its moons, the names of those two moons should also come from Greek and Roman mythology and must be related to the ancient tales about Hades and the Underworld.

"Images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2011 and 2012 revealed two previously unknown moons of Pluto. So far, we have been calling them 'P4' and 'P5', but the time has come to give them permanent names. If it were up to you, what would you choose?" reads the first lines of the specially designed website named "Pluto Rocks".

Discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh, the planet was named "Pluto" which is the Roman name for the Greek god Hades, master of the underworld.

Other three moons have also been named after mythological characters of the underworld. Discovered in 1978 by James Christy, Pluto's largest and the innermost moon was named as Charon. Charon was the boatman who ferried the souls of the dead into the underworld through river Styx.

Two other moons discovered in 2005 by a team of astronomers led by Hal Weaver and Alan Stern, were called Nix and Hydra. Nix is the goddess of the night and Hydra was the monster with many heads that guarded an entrance to the underworld.

The latest two moons were also discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2011 and 2012.

People could also send in new names apart from the 12 options given in the Ballot. The voting will end February 25th and there are currently more than 21,000 votes already cast for the names Cerberus and Styx.

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