New names to remember

Pluto and its three moons

Two new moons of Pluto were discovered in 2005 and confirmed by the Hubble Space Telescope earlier this year. Until now they were referred to as S/2005 P1 and S/2005 P2, names that do not roll smoothly off the tongue. They have just been named by the International Astronomical Union as Nix and Hydra. These are both appropriate names as in mythology Nix is the mother of Charon, the previously known moon of Pluto, while Hydra is a horrifying creature. Together their initials represent New Horizons, the mission currently on the way to Pluto.

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