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Pluto's two moons have been named

THE solar system's most beloved dwarf planet has had two of its moons officially named by the world's key astronomer body.

The International Astronomical Union will name Pluto's two moons, discovered in 2011 and 2012, Styx and Kerberos, each taken from Greek mythology.

Pluto grew in popularity after the IAU opted to downgrade the orb from a planet to a dwarf planet or plutoid, prompting sympathy for the tiny and isolated planet.

A massive public naming competition was held for the two new moons, with Vulcan, Cerberus and Styx taking first, second and third places respectively.

Vulcan was dumped because it had already been used to describe asteroids between the Sun and Mercury.

Cerberus morphed into Kerberos - the Greek spelling - to avoid confusion with an asteroid of the same name which passed by in the late 1800s.

From closest to most distant orbits, Pluto's moons now include: Charon, Styx, Nix, Kerberos and Hydra.

In Greek mythology, Styx was the goddess who ruled the underworld river of the same name.

Kerberos is a many-headed dog that guarded the entrance into the underworld.

Topics:  astronomy editors picks moon solar system


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