Pluto

Feb. 25, 2013 | 4:01 p.m.

When Captain Kirk is not at the Oscars, he’s naming Pluto moons

William Shatner: One night he's doing a cameo at the Oscars, the next day he's naming one of Pluto's moons.  (Kevin Winter / Getty Images)
William Shatner, moon-namer? That’s right. The actor, who appeared opposite Seth MacFarlane at the Oscars on Sunday night in the guise of “Star Trek’s” Captain Kirk, has spent the last week and a half waging a Twitter campaign to name one of Pluto’s two recently discovered moons “Vulcan.” And as of Monday, it appears he will be successful. More than 450,000 ballots were cast in an online vote at the website Plutorocks.com, and the name Vulcan, which was originally suggested by Shatner,  has emerged as the clear winner. “174,062 votes and Vulcan came out on top of the voting for the naming of Pluto’s moons. Thank you to all who voted! MBB” Shatner wrote on his Twitter feed.  (“MBB” stands for “My best, Bill”) The dwarf planet already has three named moons — Hydra, Nix and Charon. Like the name Pluto, they […]
Feb. 11, 2013 | 3:24 p.m.

Pluto: Two moons need names, and you can help

This file image provided by NASA on Feb. 22, 2006, from its Hubble Space Telescope shows Pluto and three of its five moons. (AP Photo / NASA)
Two of Pluto’s moons need naming, and scientists are asking for your help. The moons are fairly recent discoveries, which is why they haven’t been given official names yet. The one  currently known as P4 was discovered in the summer of 2011. The one currently designated as P5 was discovered in the summer of 2012. Space discovery tradition holds that the person who finds a new object in space has 10 years to suggest a name for it.  But not just any old name will do — the International Astronomical Union has rules for these things. The proposed name should be 16 characters or less in length, only a single word, pronounceable (so no elaborate set of initials), non-offensive, and shouldn’t sound too much like the name of another minor planet or natural planetary satellite. PHOTOS: Awesome images from space By […]
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