Astronomers unveil contest to name Pluto moons

This photo provided and annotated by NASA/Hubble Space Telescope shows moons P4 and P5 orbiting Pluto. Picture: AP

This photo provided and annotated by NASA/Hubble Space Telescope shows moons P4 and P5 orbiting Pluto. Picture: AP

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Astronomers have announced a contest to name two moons discovered orbiting Pluto.

P4 and P5, as they are called, were discovered in 2011 and 2012 after photographs taken by the Hubble Space Telescope revealed the unknown moons.

A competition to name P4 and P5 has been launched. Picture: AP

A competition to name P4 and P5 has been launched. Picture: AP

Three Pluto moons already have names associated with Hades and the underworld. They are Charon, the ferryman of Hades; Nix for the night goddess; and the multi-headed monster Hydra.

Researchers have asked members of the public to retain the theme by choosing names from a list of names made famous by Greek and Roman mythology. They’re no more than 20 miles (32 kms) across.

Online voting will last two weeks. Twelve choices are available at the website “plutorocks.” Choices include the hero who slew Hydra, Hercules; and Styx, the river to the underworld. Write-in suggestions are welcomed.

 

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