Pluto system officially gets mythological names

Pluto system officially gets mythological names

Dwarf planet Pluto is named after the Roman god of the underworld, who is known as Hades in Greek mythology and is in charge of judging the dead, sounding like hell.

The International Astronomical Union (IAU), which oversees the naming of all celestial bodies, has now made the dwarf planet’s spooky status official by approving underworld, mythology and scientist-themed names for Pluto System.

IAU’s decision will help formalize several of the informal names that have been used by the masses to call the dwarf planet and its moons. Pluto’s surface features like Cthulhu Regio is now the octopus beast from H.P. Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulu, and Norgay Montes is named after Tenzing Norgay -- the first man to summit Mount Everest.

Now, U.S. space agency NASA has decided to name Pluto, its biggest moon Charon, and four smaller moons, viz. Nix, Styx, Kerberos and Hydra, will get names suggested by the mythology.

Surface features of Pluto, for instance, will be named after deities linked with the underworld. Charon has been named after the underworld’s ferryman River Styx. The moon Kerberos has been named after the 3-headed pupper of the underworld.

Naming planets and moons after mythological gods and goddesses has long been a celestial tradition. Now, IAU’s decision has made it official.