25 June 2006

Nix & Hydra at Pluto

Pluto’s two little moons, S/2005 P [1&2] have names: Nix & Hydra.

These names were picked from Greek mythology (as for many other outer bodies) & also so the initials match New Horizons, the satellite for which these moons were found (by Hubble, which now has one nixed camera out of its three main ones) as investigative targets.

“Nix” (actually, it was to be Nyx... but there was already an asteroid with that name so the IAU “nixed” Nyx :-) is the deity of darkness and mother of Charon (Pluto’s largest moon); Hydra is a 9-headed monster (thought to be an appropriate companion for the 9th planet).

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