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.
Here’s a quick rundown, courtesy of ADHD and Wikipedia.
1. Acheron – The River of Pain in the Greek Underworld.
2. Alecto – One of the Greek Furies, daughter of Gaea. Name means “implacable or unceasing anger.”
3. Cerberus – The three-headed Hellhound that guards the Underworld.
4. Erebus – A deity personifying darkness; also the area where the dead pass immediately after dying.
5. Eurydice – The oak nymph daughter of Apollo.
6. Hercules – Oddly enough, this is the Roman name of Greek god Heracles, the guy who killed the Cerberus during his 12 Labors.
7. Hypnos – The personification of sleep.
8. Lethe – The river of unmindfulness in the Greek Underworld.
9. Obol – Charon’s obol referred to the coin placed in or on the mouth of a dead person to pay the mythical ferryman.
10. Orpheus – A divine musician, poet and prophet; husband of Eurydice.
11. Persephone – Queen of the Underworld; daughter of Zeus.
12. Styx – The river of hate in the Greek Underworld.
Voting for the contest can be done at Pluto Rocks, but be sure and do it before voting ends at noon on Monday, February 25, 2013. You’re also allowed to write in your own votes, but something tells me not enough people will join me in adding “Calvin” and “Hobbes” to the list. Hobbes was probably too liberal for the Greeks anyway.