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Pluto’s Newly Discovered Moons Get Official Names

Back in February we told you about an online naming contest for Pluto’s two newly discovered, smallest moons (P4 and P5). Now, nearly half million votes later, the moons have their official names. Formally approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the governing body that officially names celestial objects,  P4,  which is 15 miles (20…

Trekkies put their stamp on Pluto moon naming contest

After nearly a half million votes cast by the public, Pluto’s two tiniest moons may have new names—one of which could be named after the home world of famous fictional pointy-eared humanoid Mr. Spock. Astronomer Michael Showalter and his team who discovered these tiny worldlets asked the online community for help in naming the moons, now…

Your Chance to Name Pluto’s New Moons

Even though Pluto may have been officially kicked out of the major planet club, the number of moons orbiting the dwarf planet has increased by two in just the last couple of years.  And now astronomers need your help in naming these newly discovered moons. The naming contest for two of the tiniest satellites, measuring…

A New Milestone for New Horizons

    Artist’s rendering of New Horizons. Southwest Research Institute (Dan Durda)/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (Ken Moscati)   Last Friday, December 2, 2011, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft became the closest spacecraft ever to Pluto, a record previously held by Voyager 1 which came within 983 million miles of Pluto on January 29, 1986. This…

Aloha, Haumea

It’s time for a luau! On Wednesday the IAU finally approved a name for our solar system’s fifth dwarf planet: Haumea, after a Hawaiian fertility goddess. Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology, whose team found the object in 2004, definitely seems to be on a roll filling the sky with non-Greek or Roman…