Meet Styx and Kerberos, Pluto's newly named moons

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Michael Gorman
July 2nd, 2013
In this article: astronomy, pluto, seti, space
Meet Styx and Kerberos, Pluto's newly named moons

SETI's best known for its search for sentient life in the cosmos, but when the Hubble space telescope found a pair of new moons orbiting Pluto (at SETI's behest), it decided to do some planetoid naming, too. Today, SETI announced those names: Styx and Kerberos. The institute didn't grant titles to the moons itself, however. Instead, it put the onus on the public to come up with the proper names -- with instructions from the International Astronomical Union (IAU) that the nomenclature have something to do with the mythological underworld known as Hades. Voting lasted for two weeks, and SETI received over 450,000 regular votes and around 30,000 write-ins. Though many wished for the moons to be named for Stephen Colbert or the Romulan home world, the IAU found those choices to be unfit for the new moons. Instead, we have Styx (the river that separates earth from the underworld) and Kerberos (the three-headed dog that serves as the guardian to Hades) -- who said studying Classics was a waste of time?

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