February 25, 2020

May 2009 News & Notes.

And the Winner is: It’s official; after much debating and furious blog commenting, the newly discovered moon of the Plutoid Orcus (remember, the anti-Pluto?) is… drum roll… Vanth! Loyal followers of this space and Astronomy Picture of the Day will remember a few weeks ago, when astronomer Mike Brown put out a call to name the tiny object and give a good reason why.

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Your Chance to Name a Moon!

This is a quick call to arms: astronomer Mike Brown is asking for your help in naming s/1 90482 (2005), a moon of the Kuiper Belt Object Orcus, infamously touted as “the anti-Pluto…”  Mike will be entertaining entries until Sunday, April 5th, 2009…there is already quite a lively banter on his blog linked above!

Our two cents? My top pick would be Vanth, the Etruscan goddess of the dead. This has the advantage of sticking to the underworld mythos as set by Pluto, as well as the Etruscan pedigree set by Orcus…plus Vanth is original and just sounds cool! Another pick could be Lilith, the Mesopotamian demi-goddess, which was once proposed to be a second, hypothetical “anti-moon” of Earth. One down side of Lilith is that a minor planet already shares this name. A final thought would be “Nox”, the Roman counterpart to Nix, one of Pluto’s newly discovered moons…reading through the other comments, there seems to be enough momentum for Vanth to consider it a movement…