Pluto’s moons named

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June 21 2006 2:18 PM

Pluto’s moons named

Science Now is reporting that Pluto's two moons discovered recently have been named: Nyx and Hydra. It'll be formally announced on Friday.

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These are good names: Nix is the goddess of the night, and Hydra was the offspring of Styx, daughter of Oceanus, and the titan Pallas (which is also the name of an asteroid). Pluto's biggest moon, Charon, is the name of the ferryboat driver who took the souls of the dead across the river Styx to the underworld, and of course Pluto is the Roman name of the god of the underworld.

Update (June 27, 2006): I had originally spelled the moon's named as "Nyx", but it should be Nix. The name Nyx is actually better, but it was already used for an asteroid! So they used a variant of the spelling for Pluto's moon.'

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death from the Skies! Follow him on Twitter.