Two moons recently discovered around Pluto finally have names. Despite the efforts of some, including Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, neither of them is named Vulcan.
The International Astronomical Union announced Tuesday that fourth and fifth moons will be named Kerberos and Styx. They were discovered in 2011 and 2012.
The IAU had an open call for name suggestions from the public.
“To be consistent with the names of the other Pluto satellites, the names had to be picked from classical mythology,” said the IAU.
Vulcan received the most votes followed by Cerberus, Styx. But, the IAU nixed naming one of the moons after Mr. Spock’s home planet for a couple of reasons:
- The term “vulcanoid” already describes any asteroid existing inside the orbit of Mercury
- The name Vulcan does not come from classical mythology
The IAU went with Styx and Kerberos. Kerberos the Greek spelling of Cerberus. The IAU made the change to avoid confusion with an asteroid called 1865 Cerberus.
Styx is the name of the goddess who ruled over the underworld river. Kerberos was a many-headed dog that guarded the entrance to the underworld.
The other moons are Hydra, Nix and Charon.