Scientists want help naming Pluto’s newly-discovered moons

Craig Lloyd - Feb 11, 2013, 9:39am CST
Scientists want help naming Pluto’s newly-discovered moons

Ever since scientists determined Pluto as no longer an official planet in our solar system, we frankly started to forget about the tiny rock floating around outside of our solar system. However, scientists are making the dwarf planet relevant again, and they now need our help to name Pluto’s fourth and fifth moons, which were just recently-discovered.

A website called “Pluto Rocks” is looking to gain the public’s interest in space by allowing people the opportunity to vote on certain names for Pluto’s moons. There’s 12 name candidates to vote on, some of which are “Hercules,” “Styx,” and “Orpheus.” Voting ends at noon ET on Monday, February 25, so you have a little bit of time to get your vote in. Plus, you can vote once per day in order to raise the chances of your choice winning.

The two new moons discovered orbiting around Pluto were were found during a detailed analysis of data captured from the Hubble Space Telescope. One was discovered in 2011, and the other was discovered last year. The moons are actually very tiny, measuring only 15 to 20 miles (20 to 30 kilometers) across. NASA plans to get a better look at the moons when the New Horizons probe plans to fly past Pluto in 2015.

After the vote is over, the teams that discovered the moons will choose two names to submit to the International Astronomical Union, and will announce the names of the moons after their formal approval, which will most likely be sometime in April. We may also see more moons around Pluto being discovered once the New Horizons probe flys by. The discovery teams even said that they wouldn’t be surprised if they discovered several more moons.

[via ABC News]

Must Read Bits & Bytes