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  Astronomers ask help naming Pluto's new moons

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Author Topic:   Astronomers ask help naming Pluto's new moons
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-11-2013 10:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SETI Institute release
Astronomers Ask Public to Help Name Pluto's New Moons

The discoverers of Pluto's two tiniest moons are inviting the public to help select names for the new moons.

By tradition, the moons of Pluto have names associated with Hades and the underworld. Beginning today, people can vote by visiting:

plutorocks.seti.org

"The Greeks were great storytellers and they have given us a colorful cast of characters to work with," said Mark Showalter, Senior Research Scientist at the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. He and the teams of astronomers who made the discoveries will select two names based on the outcome of the voting.

Until now, these small moons have been referred to as, simply, "P4" and "P5". Like Pluto's three other moons, Charon, Nix and Hydra, they need to be assigned names derived from Greek or Roman mythology.

Visitors to the web site will also be able to submit write-in suggestions. These will be reviewed by the team and could be added to the ballot. Voting will end Feb. 25, 2013. The final names will be announced after their formal approval by the International Astronomical Union.

P4 was discovered in 2011 in images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. P5 was discovered a year later during a more intensive search for previously unseen objects orbiting the distant, dwarf planet. The moons are only 20 to 30 km (15 to 20 miles) across. Currently, Pluto is receiving special scrutiny by astronomers, because NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is slated to arrive there in July 2015.

A Google+ Hangout is scheduled on February 11 at 11 am PT with two of the scientists involved in the discovery. Mark Showalter is from the SETI Institute, and Hal Weaver is a researcher at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. Questions from the viewers will be taken during the event using Twitter (hashtag #PlutoRocks), the SETI Institute Facebook page and the Google hangout.

The mission of the SETI Institute is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe. We believe we are conducting the most profound search in human history – to know our beginnings and our place among the stars.

The SETI Institute (founded in 1984) is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to scientific research, education and public outreach. The Institute comprises three centers, the Center for SETI Research, the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe and the Center for Education and Public Outreach. Today the Institute employs over 150 scientists, educators and support staff.

Mike Dixon
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Posts: 764
From: Kew, Victoria, Australia
Registered: May 2003

posted 02-11-2013 03:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike Dixon   Click Here to Email Mike Dixon     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great idea. Might finally prompt some long overdue action on naming the numerous moons orbiting the gas giants.

Rob Joyner
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Posts: 1292
From: GA, USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 02-13-2013 12:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Joyner   Click Here to Email Rob Joyner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To all you Star Trek fans... vote for Vulcan!

ColinBurgess
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Posts: 1567
From: Sydney, Australia
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 02-13-2013 12:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very easy: Orpheus and Eurydice.

Philip
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Posts: 4803
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 02-13-2013 10:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We'll have to choose names from the Underground

Lou Chinal
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Posts: 946
From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 02-13-2013 11:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Do we get to vote?

Blackarrow
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Posts: 2024
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 02-13-2013 03:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I already have.

ColinBurgess
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Posts: 1567
From: Sydney, Australia
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 02-13-2013 04:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The voting website is above, in Robert's initial message on this subject.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-25-2013 02:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Update from Mark Showalter, for the P4/P5 Discovery Team, Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe, SETI Institute:
We have been overwhelmed by the world's response. Thank you to all 450,324 who voted!

Please be patient now. It could take 1-2 months for the final names of P4 and P5 to be selected and approved. Stay tuned.

According to the poll results, "Vulcan" topped the charts with 174,062 votes and "Cerebus" placed second with nearly 100,000.

Rob Joyner
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Posts: 1292
From: GA, USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 02-25-2013 07:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Joyner   Click Here to Email Rob Joyner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Live Long and Prosper!

Gonzo
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Posts: 374
From: Lansing, MI, USA
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 02-26-2013 12:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gonzo   Click Here to Email Gonzo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wanted Romulus and Rhemus. At least we may get Vulcan!

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