Despite an overwhelming vote to name one of the newly discovered moons of Pluto Vulcan, astronomers with the SETI Institute have decided to go a different route.
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) deemed that all official designations come from Greek and Roman mythology. After the vote was overwhelming in favor of the name Vulcan, it was decided that that moons will be called Kerberos and Styx.
Those names came in second and third in the voting.
The two moons – each just 10-25km across, were formerly known simply as P4 and P5. They were only discovered in July 2011 and July 2012, respectively.
Both were spotted by a team using the Hubble space telescope, led by Mark Showalter, senior scientist at the Seti Institute.
The team was initially on a hunt for rings around the dwarf planet – it lost its status as a full planet in 2006.
The ensuing hunt for further planets and objects around it was supported in part by the New Horizons mission, which launched in 2006 on a course toward Pluto and the Kuiper belt of objects beyond it.
It had been suggested that cosmic debris around the dwarf planet may pose a threat to the probe.
Shortly after the first new moon was found, another followed, and the IAU was in the market for two appropriate new names – and the Pluto Rocks! online vote was begun – receiving over half a million votes.
“I was overwhelmed by the public response to the naming campaign,” Dr Showalter said.