Pluto’s Newly Disovered Moons Named

Image Credit - NASA, ESA and L. Frattare, via CC

Two new moons of Pluto were discovered in July 2011 and July 2012. Both the moons were a chance discovery by a team led by Mark Showalter, senior scientist at the Seti Institute, US. The team was actually on a mission to discover whether there were any rings around the dwarf planet. At that time, they were simply named P4 and P5 respectively.

The International Astronomical Union (IAU), a collection of professional astronomers, that acts as the internationally recognized authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies like stars, planets, asteroids, etc. has now decided on proper names for these moons. P4 and P5 have been named Kerberos and Styx respectively. Both the names have been derived from Greek and Roman mythology.

There was an online voting program ‘Pluto rocks!’ where people could vote for the name they liked for the moons. Though ‘Vulcan’ was the most popular choice, it was rejected by IAU on the basis that it is not greatly related to Pluto according to Greek or Roman Mythology.

Did you know that dwarf planet Pluto already had three moons – Nix, Hydra and Charon, Charon being the biggest?

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