A pair of astronomers from the Seti Institute discovered two moons orbiting the former-planet Pluto. These moons have yet to receive new official names, so the Seti Institute has asked for everyone’s help in aiding them with the naming process.
Earlier this week, the Seti Institute opened up a ballot page with suggested names for the newly found orbs.
The Seti Institute’s page displays each of the available names and the descriptions behind them all. An official message from the astronomers handling this voting event was displayed on the “Pluto Rocks” campaign home page:
Participating in this poll, either by voting for candidate names or by submitting your own suggestions, constitutes your express acceptance of the following conditions: No prizes, awards, or any other type of recognition will be given to any participant. You may vote multiple times, but no more than once per day. We reserve the right to curtail abusive activity, including but not limited to, automated voting, denial of service attempts, disrupting, harming, tampering with, or maliciously interfering with our web sites. The poll is open to anyone. No registration is required in order to vote. We will not collect any personally-identifiable or private information associated with any participant. This poll is being conducted by the SETI Institute and by Dr. Mark Showalter on behalf of the P4/P5 discovery team. It is not affiliated with NASA, the Space Telescope Science Institute, the New Horizons Mission, or the International Astronomical Union. We will take into consideration the results of the voting, but they are not binding. The discovery team, in consultation with the Nomenclature Working Groups of the International Astronomical Union, reserves the right to propose the names. Note that the International Astronomical Union has final authority over the naming of Pluto’s moons. Seti Institute reserves the right to modify these rules at any time.
William Shatner aka Captain James T. Kirk is one of the more notable individuals who has thrown a couple of titles into the batch of names. His latest batch of tweets suggested some familiar sounding monikers:
So what do you think of the idea of naming the two moons of Pluto Vulcan and Romulus?You have mythology, pos and neg plutorocks.com/ground-rules
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) February 12, 2013
People apparently liked Shatner’s idea, as evidenced by Shatner’s next tweet:
Did you hear?They added the name Vulcan to the list of possible names for Pluto’s moons!You did it!I’m so happy. plutorocks.com/home
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) February 13, 2013
At the moment, the top three names in the running are Vulcan, Styx and Cerberus. More than 215,00 votes have been calculated. The voting period will officially end on February 25, 2013 at 12 p.m. EST.