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Pluto Day March And Rally Celebrates Its Fifth Anniversary

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Back in 2006, the International Astronomical Union redefined what does and does not qualify as a planet. You may remember there was a bit of a ruckus, as Pluto didn’t quite make the cut and was reclassified as a “Dwarf Planet.” That stings a little.

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Pluto’s Unnamed Moon May Indeed Become Vulcan

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Vulcan

The people have spoken! And by “people,” I mean “William Shatner’s people.” Last week we told you about how the SETI Institute was allowing the public to vote on the official names for two of Pluto’s recently discovered, so-far-unnamed moons. As often happens whenever someone posts a poll online, a group of fans decided to team up to try and overwhelm the vote for their option of choice. In this case, William Shatner used Twitter to call upon his legions, suggesting they write in “Vulcan.” And while Vulcan wasn’t an official option on the list, it should surprise no one that it handily took first place in the voting, with 174,062 votes.

In spite of the sizable lead for Vulcan, it’s unclear at this point if one of Pluto’s moons will actually be saddled with the name of Spock’s homeworld. As we mentioned in our original story, the name still has to be approved by the International Astronomical Union, and Vulcan could theoretically be disqualified for not following the rules. The IAU’s naming conventions for moons of Pluto is that “those that share Pluto’s orbital rhythm take the name of underworld deities.” Hence the official suggestions included names like Orpheus, Styx, and the one that came in second, Cerberus. Hopefully Vulcan won’t be disqualified on a technicality, but you never know.

It could take between one and two months before the IAU officially declares whether Pluto’s P4 and P5 will become Vulcan and Cerberus. Hopefully they’ll have a sense of humor about the whole thing and let the departure from protocol pass. Just do us all a favor and don’t bring any Red Matter anywhere near the place.

So what does everyone’s favorite Vulcan think of the possibility of a new Vulcan in our neck of the woods? Actor Leonard Nimoy says, “If my people were emotional they would say they are pleased.”

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William Shatner Summons Trekkies To Name Pluto’s Moon Vulcan

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You may recall last week, when we told you that the SETI Institute was inviting the public to help name P4 and P5, Pluto’s so-far-untitled moons. The existing, already-named moons are called Nix, Charon, and Hydra. They all fit within the International Astronomical Union’s naming convention for the dwarf planet’s satellites: namely, that “Those that share Pluto’s orbital rhythm take the name of underworld deities.” The proposed new names all fit within that pattern, but SETI also invited voters to write in their own suggestions. And then William Shatner happened.

Don't ask us to explain this picture.

Don’t ask us to explain this picture.

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Pluto’s Moons Need A Name, Cast Your Votes

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Remember when your mom wouldn’t let you name the family dog “Captain Long Dong” or “Pancake Shit Explosion,” saying that those were extremely uncouth? Well, in your mom’s face, because now you have the power of naming two celestial bodies, though you still might want to clean up your language before voting.

In the last year and a half, astronomers discovered two previously undetected moons orbiting Pluto, and while their current names, “P4” and “P5,” are perfectly suitable, astronomers from the SETI Institute want to rename them with the permission of the International Astronomical Union (IAU). But instead of whittling down a list themselves, they’ve presented regular Joes like you and me with the opportunity to vote from a list of 12 proposed names. Keep in mind the names of Pluto’s other moons are Nix, Charon, and Hydra, so the Greek inspiration carries on with these submissions.

No, not that Pluto.

No, not that Pluto.

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