Newly Discovered Moons Have Been Named!
You didn’t know Pluto had moons? Well it does.
The Hubble Space Telescope discovered the small moons in 2011 and 2012.The images were taken in preparation for the visit of the New Horizons spacecraft which will be passing closely by Pluto in 2015.
The newly discovered moons were previously known as P4 and P5. Not very intriguing for sure. But with so many stars, planets, comets etc to be named in our galaxy, not to mention the Universe in general, coming up with good names for things takes time. And no..that “Name a Star” certificate you bought your sweetheart for Christmas last year didn’t do it. Nor do they count as official names.
Planetary objects are assigned numbers and their official names are maintained by the International Astronomical Union. The IAU has now given Pluto’s 4th and 5th moon official names. Both of the new names are related to Pluto, who rules over the afterlife in Greek mythology.
According to NASA’s Picture of the Day:
P4 is now known as Kerberos.
Named for the many headed dog in Greek mythology that guards the entrance to the underworld.
P5 is now known as Styx. Named for the goddess who overlooks the mythological river that runs between the Earth and the underworld.
The size of each moon is quite uncertain, says NASA. Each one “is crudely estimated to be about 20 kilometers in diameter. The robotic New Horizons spacecraft is on schedule to pass by Pluto in 2015 and provide the first clear images of the dwarf planet and its companions”..