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Pluto's New Moons Named Nix and Hydra 110

Dean W, Armstrong writes "Pluto's two new satellites, previously identified as S/2005 P 2 and S/2005 P 1, received official names from the International Astronomical Union today. Nix and Hydra are named after the mother of Charon and the fierce nine-headed monster. The initials of the new names, N and H, call to mind the New Horizons spacecraft, on a fast trajectory to visit Pluto, just like Pluto's symbol calls to mind Percival Lowell."
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Pluto's New Moons Named Nix and Hydra

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  • Compromise (Score:5, Funny)

    by tekisama ( 161866 ) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @01:36PM (#15583682) Homepage
    This was after Goofy and Minnie were rejected.
    • by schon ( 31600 )
      This was after Goofy and Minnie were rejected.

      Mickey Mouse decided he wanted a divorce, so he went to see a lawyer. He ranted and ranted for hours about Minnie, and the lawyer (who was paid by the hour, of course) sat silently until Mickey had finished his tirade.

      Once Mickey had calmed down a bit, the lawyer said "Well, Mr. Mouse, while I can certainly sympathize with you, I'm afraid you can't divorce your wife just because you think she's a bit strange."

      Mikey became enraged - he jumped up on the lawyer's
    • Mickey never did liked the idea of Minnie hanging out with Goofy all the time.
    • Actually, I thought it was bacause they were OOTS readers, due to the content of the most recent comic.....

      http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/GiantITP/ootscript ?SK=325 [giantitp.com]
    • That Goofy the dog is a peer of Mickey's, but Pluto is Mickey's dog. Doesn't that make Pluto a slave?
  • by celardore ( 844933 ) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @01:38PM (#15583697)
    Moons named after the ferryman of the dead's mothers place, and a "fierce nine-headed monster" doesn't sound like a good place to be! I'll probably never pass through there on my way though, it's not on my route.
  • ...the're really meaning it'll go to the moon instead?
  • by blinder ( 153117 ) * <blinder...dave@@@gmail...com> on Thursday June 22, 2006 @01:39PM (#15583708) Homepage Journal
    no really!
    bob. yeah, not as catchy if the entire planet were called "bob" but still!

    bob the moon.
  • Pluto? Hydra? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jhan ( 542783 ) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @01:39PM (#15583709) Homepage
    Could someone more familiar with greek mythology please tell me how Pluto and the Hydra are connected?
  • Now to see who's the bigger and badder moon! Found one, fight! [googlefight.com]
  • Just like my server and my laptop!
  • by ZSpade ( 812879 ) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @01:42PM (#15583743) Homepage
    They named both of these moons after mythical creatures that had almost everything to do with water. the Nix and the [wikipedia.org]Multiple headed Hydra [wikipedia.org] to which we owe many of our roots in the english language for water, I am assuming.
  • I hope Celestia (celestia.sf.net) will be updated soon so I can "visit" these new moons.

    • Shocking! Celestia finally pushed past version 1.3.2, where it had languished for years. Will wonders never cease? Can't wait to get home and download this puppy...

  • Unix (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @01:47PM (#15583779)
    They originally wanted to name it Unix, but SCO threatened to sue.
  • I feel like they should have saved Hydra for something else.
  • by AltGrendel ( 175092 ) <(ag-slashdot) (at) (exit0.us)> on Thursday June 22, 2006 @01:49PM (#15583802) Homepage
    I thought you wrote "Hydrant"

    Pluto could use a hydrant.

  • New Horizons (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dr. Eggman ( 932300 ) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @01:53PM (#15583836)
    I for one can't wait for this craft to make it to Pluto. There's so much we don't know about that area of the solar system and even a fly-by mission could tell us so much. Wouldn't it be grand if we could pin down chemical makeups of pluto and other objects in the Kuiper Belt? We might get a better idea if the Deuterium and Protium Isotope proportions are dissimilar to the Earth's Ocean Water and help decided whether comets like Halley and Hyakutake are good represent sample (if they are, they're easier to study than the rest of the Belt.) What if we discovered that the ratio is closer to Earth's Ocean than the comet's have provided? It could lend quite a bit of credence to theoretical origins of atleast some of Earth's water as being Extraterrestrial! Who knows what other clues Pluto and its moons may hide about the origin and growth of the solar system. I wonder if these new moons plus Pluto and Charon would be massive enough (as one) to be above the controversy over Pluto's planethood?
    • Re:New Horizons (Score:5, Informative)

      by Don853 ( 978535 ) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @02:03PM (#15583917)
      I wonder if these new moons plus Pluto and Charon would be massive enough (as one) to be above the controversy over Pluto's planethood?

      Probably not, the new moons don't have very much mass anyway, and Pluto's planethood is questioned as much by its eccentric orbit and its resemblence to Kuiper belt objects as by its mass.
      • Technically, Pluto doesn't have an orbit per se. It is locked into a power struggle with Charon, and it doesn't actually rotate when it revolves. Our moon rotates on its own day/night cycle as it revolves around the Earth, but the same side of Pluto is always facing the same side of Charon. Because of this, it's not technically orbiting, hence the argument about whether Charon is a moon and Pluto a planet.
        • Regardless of the respective roles of Pluto and Charon in the duet, the Pluto/Charon center of mass has an orbit around the Sun. This orbit is what I was referring to, and it is both tilted with respect the planes of and far more eliptical than the orbits of the other 8 planets. As they discover other massive objects out in that region of space (Xena, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_UB313 [wikipedia.org], among others) Pluto seems more similar to them than it does to the rest of the planets. Whether that means we have
          • The same side of our moon is always facing the earth. It has days and nights because of its orbit around the earth. Friction from tidal forces has long since brought its rotation in sync with its revolution.

            Well yes, the same side of the moon faces the earth- but the same side of the Earth doesn't face the same side of the moon at all times like Charon and Pluto do. That's all I was trying to say.
      • so you're saying that an extinction level event occurred at pluto, and because of this fact, scientists pretend to be morons and try to waste valuable research dollars on redefining reality?
  • to Pluto, maybe Cosmonaut Li can land on Nix.

    Li nix - a good thing.
  • The moon (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jbeaupre ( 752124 ) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @02:10PM (#15583964)
    So much effort to name rocks billions of miles away and yet our closest neighbor just gets called "moon." ok, "the moon." Well, you always take the familiar for granted.
    • The bigger issue nobody is mentioning is that pluto isn't actually a planet. Well, at least I don't think its size warrants that it should be.
      • A million little kids would rise up and mop the floor with you. After being made to memorize a list of planets, to tell them they are wrong ... that'll get you killed.

        I think technically it isn't a planet. But life's boring if you live it to the letter. Let's call it a planet for the sake of breaking the rules.

        ... and the kids.
        • by jonging ( 981292 )
          Tell the kids about a mysterious planet X that lies beyond dinky little pluto and tell them nobody knows much about it. People aren't even sure if it exists! That seems much more exciting that a miniscule morsel of rock.
        • Why not use binomial nomenclature and simply call it a "binary planet"? If the "it's-not-a-planet" crowd want to say Pluto doesn't count because it's "too small of a rock", but still consider Saturn, Jupiter, and Uranus planets despite the fact that they are mostly gas, and likely don't have a solid core that's large enough of a rock to be called a planet. We call them "Gas Giant Planets" instead of simply "planets" (or brown-dwarf stars), why not create another category to include binary planets?
      • Pluto is a planet because we've traditionally called it one. There isn't an official definition [wikipedia.org] for a planet, and as we find new trans-Neptunian objects of similar sizes to Pluto that's becoming a problem.
      • Nobody is mentioning it because it isn't true. Pluto is a (major) planet for the time being, at least until September, when the IAU will be deciding on a criterion, or set of criteria, for determining whether a body in orbit about a star (specifically, a fusor) is a planet.

    • Re:The moon (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jboost ( 960475 ) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @02:39PM (#15584162)
      Really, I thought the Moon was called Luna.
      We call it 'the' moon because it is 'our moon', just like we call Sol 'our Sun' and Terra 'the Earth'.

      It's easier that way.
      • Re:The moon (Score:2, Interesting)

        by BrianTung ( 914386 )

        I think, according to the IAU, the Moon is simply called "Moon," just as our planet is just called "Earth." The generic term for a body that orbits a larger non-fusor (that is, a non-star) is "satellite," ultimately (through French) from Latin satelles, meaning "attendant."

      • The moon is officially named (by the IAU) "Moon"
        The sun is similarly named "Sun".
        and Earth is named "Earth".

        Terra, Luna, and Sol, are all of them names used only by people speaking other languages or reading Science Fiction. In English, the names "Sun", "Moon", and "Earth" are official.
    • Earth's natural satellite is officially named "The Moon", yes, capitalized, with "The" included. In many Latin-based languages, it is called "Luna", which is what I prefer as a 'name'. Just as our planet's official name is "Earth", even though 'earth' can also refer to dirt.
    • Re:The moon (Score:5, Informative)

      by kodeman ( 794791 ) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @03:46PM (#15584596)

      Just to be clear:

      • Our planet is officially named "Earth".
      • Our moon is officially named "Moon".

      "Terra" is generic "ground" in Latin. During the height of this word's popular usage, no distinction was made between the ground and the surface of the planet itself, just as we sometimes refer to soil as "earth".

      "Luna" is generic "moon" in Latin. During the height of this word's popular usage, no distinction was made between the moon orbiting our planet and a moon orbiting any other body in space, since only our one moon was conclusively known to exist.

      Other variants for "Earth" are "Tellur" (ancient Latin form of modern Latin derivitive "Terra") and "Gaia" (Greek). Another variant for "The Moon" is "Selene" (Greek).

      The significance of English vs. Latin names:

      English is very prevalent in modern technical/scientific disciplines due to its articulative flexibility through use of the root/prefix/suffix language construction derived from its Romantic/Latin heritage. Since Latin proper has mostly been replaced in the western world by Romantic language variants and dialects, English has become the language of much normative information in scientific circles. The reason is simple: articulative ability in a commonspeak language.

      However, as in medicine, Latin is used as a disambiguation language. That is, one which contrasts sharply with commonspeak so as to instantly confer information without the ambiguities introduced by commonspeak language, such as homonyms or figures of speech. Hence, in scientific documentation, such as astronomical data, Latin designations are used to disambiguate the meaning of things, like planet names and moons, while providing a clear base for universally translating the correct meaning to other languages as needed for native language comprehension.

      Interesting sidenotes:

      • Luna, root word for common word "lunatic" - one who is crazed due to the influence of our planet's moon
      • Terra, phrase root for common phrase "Terra Firma" - solid ground

      Read more at Wikipedia:

      • English is very prevalent in modern technical/scientific disciplines due to its articulative flexibility through use of the root/prefix/suffix language construction derived from its Romantic/Latin heritage. Since Latin proper has mostly been replaced in the western world by Romantic language variants and dialects, English has become the language of much normative information in scientific circles. The reason is simple: articulative ability in a commonspeak language.

        Um... can someone translate this for me?

        • Simple: articulative ability in a commonspeak language such as English allows articulative flexibility through use of the root/prefix/suffix language construction, thus English has become the language of much normative information in scientific circles.

          Ohhhh, what does that mean? well, look at the word reblended. re-blend-ed meaning re - again, blend - well, ya know, mix, blend, whatever, and ed - happened in the past.

          A lot of languages don't let you do that, such as German, which would make it more like

          • Ohhhh, what does that mean? well, look at the word reblended. re-blend-ed meaning re - again, blend - well, ya know, mix, blend, whatever, and ed - happened in the past.

            A lot of languages don't let you do that, such as German


            German is a perfectly cromulant language in this aspect actually. Take for example words like "wiedergutmachung" (re-good-making; making up for something/reparations), "hauptbanhof" (main train station), or even "Büromaschinenmechaniker" (office machinery mechanic).

            In fact, German
    • This is a reflection of our language (English). If one hasn't noticed, most of the stuff in the Solar System is called out by Greek or Roman names of antiquity. There are big notable exceptions: Sun, Earth, Moon which come from the Germanic roots of our English language. In German, these things are Sonne, Erde, Mond and other related languages feature something similiar with similar sounds. Compared with a Romance Language like French where these things are called Soleli, Terre, Lune.

      If you go by strict
    • Luna - Selene ? oh, and you forgot "THE" Moon ...
      is a harsh mistress ...
  • and then NASA and other space agencies watched in horror as the "moons" crashed into the tiny planet. They later revealed they were simply conviently placed asteroids. I thought pluto was a planet that was just the right size to be a moon itself, I guess it got tired of all the other bigger planets making fun of it for its size. So it got two asteroids and called them moons, and gave them really nasty names? It just feels to me that we really haven't had enough time with high level telescopes to determine
    • fullphaser - pluto now has THREE moons (that we know of): Charon, Nix and Hydra.

      More trivia: How many planets in our solar system have only a single moon? (answer: one)

      How many have NO moons? (two or three, mecury, venus, and maybe xena)

      Ratboy
  • What's going to happen to dear old Nix when Pluto is nixed as a planet? The traditionalists will probably sick a hydra on those who dare say Pluto is not a planet.
  • But if Pluto isn't (better: won't be) a planet http://physorg.com/news70120085.html [physorg.com], how can it have moons?
  • I jsut finished refreshing my security suit.

    A Linux machine with software like THC Hydra, what was I supposed to think?

    So, I've been forced to rename my laptop to Pluto.
    • You are the central mass around which the laptop is dependent, therefore you are pluto and the laptop can be Hydra. Just so long as you don't call your laptop Charon, you should be okay, but should you ever get a g/f* then try and convince her to be Charon, while you two revolve around each other for eternity. It's a nice gig, this being married stuff.

      *oblig ref to most /.ers single male young. DO NOT TAKE OFFENSE TO THIS STATEMENT. DO NOT REPLY TO THIS STATEMENT. THANK YOU FOR YOUR, er... ahem, Thank
  • More to come... (Score:5, Informative)

    by posterlogo ( 943853 ) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @04:15PM (#15584755)

    These moons, and those newly discovered ones around Saturn obviously did not just come into existence in recent history, we merely detected them finally, and gave them names. To extrapolate, there will be many more that we haven't detected yet, most likely around the last three: Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, simply because detailed analysis by dedicated spacecraft hasn't been done yet. I think the Voyagers did a fairly thorough job, though, so whatever is left should be quite small, but may merit the classification of "moon" none-the-less (not sure what the criteria is...Saturn has billions of "moonlets" in its rings).


    This sort of begs the question, how many names are we gonna have to come up with. Surely Classical mythology has a finite supply...

    • This sort of begs the question, how many names are we gonna have to come up with. Surely Classical mythology has a finite supply...

      There's no shortage of other mythologies, though. Haven't you read Rendezvous with Rama?
      • Ya, that's absolutely true -- I did read that, and I thought the "official" party line was that other mythologies would be not for planets and their moons, but for other solar system objects. Actually, if anyone knows what the official naming system is, I'd like to see it. One website [nasa.gov] is a little ambiguous on whether it has to be Roman/Greek mythology, as is wiki [wikipedia.org].
        • Both Quaoar and Sedna, planets (or planetoids) discovered beyond Pluto, break with the Greco-Roman naming tradition. While those names may not be official yet, they're in wide use and probably will stick.
  • I thought that our satellite is known as the Moon. A lot of people erroneously refer to other satellites as "moons", but they aren't. Right...?

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