Two moons of Pluto get named, but people's choice of Vulcan ignored

July 2, 2013 at 4:52 PM

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., July 2 (UPI) -- Two moons of Pluto have new names, but neither will be Vulcan despite votes from thousands of Star Trek fans, astronomers in California say.

Despite a campaign by Star Trek actor William Shatner to have one named after Mr. Spock's home world, the two moons, known up until now as P4 and P5, will stay with Pluto's Greco-Roman mythological theme of the underworld and be dubbed Kerberos, after a three-headed hell hound, and Styx, a river in the underworld, NewScientist.com reported Tuesday.

The moons were discovered in 2011 and 2012 by astronomers at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif, which in February asked the public to vote on a list of 12 names taken from Greek and Roman mythology related to Hades and the underworld.

Pluto's other moons were already named Charon, Nix and Hydra.

While Vulcan, a write-in candidate, clearly bested the next most popular choices, the SETI team decided the underworld theme should be maintained and declined to allow it.

Although the SETI team has announced Kerberos and Styx as the competition winners, the final say is up to the International Astronomical Union.

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