Saturday, June 24, 2006

Science Saturday II: Welcome Hydra & Nix

Two small moons of Pluto, formerly known as S/2005 P1 and S/2005 P2, now have the names Hydra and Nix. Astronomers discovered the two moons, each probably less than 100 miles wide, in May 2005 using the Hubble Space Telescope.
In Greek mythology, Pluto is the god of the underworld, so the discoverers proposed as names for the moons Hydra, the serpent with nine heads, and Nyx, the goddess of darkness.
The International Astronomical Union in Paris, which governs astronomical nomenclature, changed Nyx to Nix because an asteroid had already been named Nyx.

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