Pluto’s moon names are P4 and P5, but scientists are turning to the internet to give them something a little more descriptive.
For the next two weeks, astronomy enthusiasts or just people with a good idea for names can travel to a website set up by SETI to vote on the new Pluto moon names. The site, Pluto Rocks, gives people a group of Greek mythology-centered names to choose from and also lets them suggest their own.
So, while Pluto may no longer be considered an “official” planet, internet astronomers can still show it a little love.
The site also offers translation for the Pluto moon name options to several other languages.
“I really want this to be something the whole world can be involved in,” said moon-finder Mark Showalter, an astronomer at the SETI Institute.
But in case people want to stuff the ballots to name it after a comedian, Wired warns that the process is a bit more difficult:
“Naming astronomical objects isn’t as simple as deciding whether to name your dog “Dog.” According to conventions set forth by the International Astronomical Union, moons must not be given a name that’s already been bestowed upon an asteroid (though spelling variants are acceptable). And, in the Pluto system, the names must be mythological and related to the dominion of Hades.
“So no matter how many write-in votes are cast for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert or Ren and Stimpy, those famous pairs will not take their place in the celestial hall of names (at least, not as Plutonian moons).”
That being said, here are the options: ,,,,,, Orpheus,, and Styx. Pluto’s largest moon is Charon, named after the boatman who ferries souls across the river Styx.
Voting on the Pluto moon names ends on February 25. The two names selected will be passed on to the IAU’s nomenclature committee.