On February 13, we reported that William Shatner had gotten “Vulcan” added as an option in the public voting over what to name Pluto’s two moons. Now, a week and a half later, that name has lead the way, with most voters choosing it over the several other options. The other dozen name options include such entries as Heracles, Erebus, Cerberus, and Persephone.
While the combination of William Shatner recommending it and the name itself inspires thoughts of Star Trek, “Vulcan” is in fact a perfect fit in terms of mythology. Vulcan is the nephew of Pluto, and is the Roman god of lava and smoke. The name would work well with the names of Pluto’s other moons, each one of which has a particular meaning or purpose.
Voting for the names ended early this morning, with approximately half a million votes being cast. The winner among them was Vulcan at 174,062, with Cerberus coming in as the second winner at 99,432. Before you get too excited, though, the voting doesn’t decide the name, it is only taken into consideration by the SETI Institute. Considering how enthusiastic it seemed about adding Shatner’s recommendation, it looks like there’s a solid chance one of the two moons will bear the name, however.
Presently, Pluto’s largest moon has the name Charon, which is the name of the boatsman who ferries the souls of the dead across Styx to Hades, with Pluto being named after Hades, Greek god of the underworld. You can check out the breakdown for all 13 names and votes cast for them over at SETI’s Pluto Rocks! website, which is where the voting was held. According to the website, the official name selections could take another 1 to 2 months.
[via PC Mag]