The Pluto Family

The Pluto family as seen by Hubble. Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Showalter (SETI Institute)

The Pluto family as seen by Hubble. Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Showalter (SETI Institute)

The “not a planet” Pluto is quite a place. It even has five moons. The smallest moons formerly named P4 and P5 have been named according to IAU standards.

So let’s welcome Kerberos and Styx, new names for P4 and P5 respectivly.

Kerberos was the three-headed dog of Greek mythology. You could be more familiar with the name Cerberus (I was), either way it is still the hellhound that gaurds the gate of the Underworld.

Styx is the river that formed the boundry between Earth and the Underworld. If one swam the river Styx then good old Keberos prevented them from leaving.

Styx is also a band that can be found on my iPod. Helps me through that 6.5 km run which is part one of the three-part cardio routine I do three times a week. But I digress.

So as you can see in the image the family of Pluto is:

  • Pluto
  • charon
  • Hydra
  • Nix
  • Kerberos
  • Styx

Will there be more moons? Could be, we’ll all find out in 2014  or 15 as New Horizons nears the sytem.

You can see more versions of the Hubble images at Hubblesite.

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