So what do you think of the idea of naming the two moons of Pluto Vulcan and Romulus?You have mythology, pos and neg plutorocks.com/ground-rules
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) February 12, 2013
[ Related: Alien moons may be easier to photograph than planets ]
Now, they couldn't go with Romulus, because there's already a satellite that goes by that name. Both Romulus and Remus orbit the main belt asteroid 87 Sylvia, which is the first asteroid found to have two natural satellites orbiting it. However, 'Vulcan' resonated with the astronomers, and not only because of a Star Trek actor suggesting it. According to Greek mythology, Vulcan is the god of lava and smoke, which may make the name more appropriate for a moon that was orbiting Venus or Mercury (if either planet had one). But Shatner is quite right that there's a connection. Vulcan is also the nephew of Pluto (who is also called Hades), so there's a close relation between them.
According to his Twitter account (@WilliamShatner) he was pretty pleased upon seeing his suggestion get added to the list:
And I bet he was even happier when the choice caught on with voters.
Vulcan is now in 5th place It's a new day so vote again. plutorocks.com/current-tally
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) February 13, 2013
[ More Geekquinox: What if asteroid 2012 DA14 actually hit Toronto? ]
If you'd like to get in on the voting, or if you have your own ideas for what names they should use, head over to http://www.plutorocks.com/ and have your say. You can even vote multiple times to make sure your choices make the top slots, but as Mark Showalter requests: "please do not vote more than once per day, just so everybody gets a fair chance to make their opinion known."
Geek out with the latest in science and weather.
Follow @ygeekquinox on Twitter!