Two of Plutos moons voted to be named Vulcan and Cerberus

first_imgSet phasers to awesome. The polls have closed and the votes have been counted. After weeks of online balloting to help pick names for Pluto’s two smallest moons, the winners are Cerberus and Vulcan. The latter was helped along by none other than William Shatner, who tweeted about the poll and suggested the name. Even if you’re not a Star Trek fan, you have to admit these names are more fun than the placeholder names, P4 and P5.The voting was undertaken by the SETI Institute and by Dr. Mark Showalter, on behalf of the P4/P5 discovery team. The rules for voting clearly state that the team is not bound by the results of voting, but will recommend the names to the International Astronomical Union (ITU). Although, Vulcan won by a pretty huge margin, capturing about 174,000 out of a total of 450,324 votes. Cerberus eked out a second place finish with a touch under 100,000 votes.Shatner suggested the name to pay homage to the Star Trek universe planet Vulcan, which is the home of the Vulcan species. SETI officials were quick to point out that Vulcan was also the Roman god of lava and smoke, which was the rationale for adding it in the first place. Cerberus is the legendary three-headed hound that guards the gates to the underworld in Greek and Roman mythology.The moons, which are the fourth and fifth moons of Pluto, were discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2011 and 2012 respectively. These clumps of rock are 5,000 times fainter than Pluto, and are 2-3 times farther away from the dwarf planet than it’s largest moon, Charon. Both P4 and P5 are roughly 15-20 miles in diameter, which is dinky by moon standards. At least they might get cool names.Now read: Live long and prosper: Redshirts less likely to die on Star Trek than goldshirtslast_img

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