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Emily LakdawallaFebruary 11, 2013

New Contest: Name the Moons of Pluto!

Mark Showalter, representing the team of astronomers that discovered Pluto's fourth and fifth moons, is inviting the public to weigh in on what their formal names should be in a contest called "Pluto Rocks!" You have until February 25 to vote on your favorites. They also invite people to write in alternative suggestions. It doesn't look as though the final name selection will simply be a popularity contest; the website says that "We will take your votes and suggestions into consideration when we propose the names for P4 and P5 to the international astronomical community." Right now, the candidate names are: Acheron; Alecto; Cerberus; Erebus; Eurydice; Hercules; Hypnos; Lethe; Obol; Orpheus; Persephone; and Styx. These new names will be joining a system that already contains Pluto, Charon, Nix, and Hydra.

There's a Google+ Hangout scheduled for 11:00 PST / 19:00 UTC today where you can learn more!

A fifth moon for Pluto

NASA, ESA, M. Showalter (SETI Institute) and L. Frattare (STScI)

A fifth moon for Pluto
An image taken on July 7, 2012 by the Wide Field Camera 3 on the Hubble Space Telescope shows the recently discovered fifth moon of Pluto. Moons P4 and P5 are now known as Kerberos and Styx, respectively.

Read more: trans-neptunian objects, Pluto, fun, events and announcements, Contests, dwarf planets beyond Neptune, Pluto's small moons

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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