'Vulcan' Wins Pluto's Moon Naming Contest
'Captain Kirk' hails win as Cerberus comes 2nd
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2013 1:44 AM CST
Updated Feb 26, 2013 3:03 AM CST
This image provided by NASA shows Pluto and three of its five moons.    (AP Photo/NASA, File)

(Newser) – The contest to pick Hades-related names for Pluto's fourth and fifth moons is over and the winner will be familiar to Star Trek fans: Vulcan was the runaway winner of the poll at plutorocks.com, taking 174,000 votes out of 475,000 cast for 21 candidates. Vulcan is the nephew of Pluto, mythical lord of the underworld, but it's also the name of Mr. Spock's home planet, and the name was William Shatner's suggestion, USA Today reports.

Cerberus came in second, with almost 100,000 votes, and Styx, Persephone, and Orpheus also made the top five. Some 30,000 suggestions—including Mickey and Minnie—didn't make the ballot. Mark Showalter, a SETI Institute scientist who played a leading role in the discovery of the dwarf planet's newest moons, says he is "delighted by the response" to the contest and will now discuss the names with colleagues on the discovery team, NBC reports. The International Astronomical Union will have the final say on what the moons are called.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
'Vulcan' Wins Pluto Moon Name Contest is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 1 of 1 comment
Feb 26, 2013 4:42 AM CST
It IS just a contest, of course. We'll see what the IAU settles on. The big problem with "Vulcan" within astronomical circles is that it's so firmly entrenched in the literature as the provisionary name for an alleged planet orbiting closer to the sun than Mercury. Plenty of reports along those lines came out during most of the 19th century (both from visual sightings and by inference from irregularities in Mercury's orbit) but they were all debunked. To this day the adjective "Vulcanoid" shows up to describe anything still waiting to be discovered in there, so the term suggest super-heat, rather than super-cold out where Pluto is.