Want to Name a Moon & Have Celestial Immortality?

Dwarf planet co-discoverer Mike Brown is looking for suggestions for naming S/1 90482 (2005). More clearly this nomenclature refers to the first satellite of the minor planet 90482, which was found in 2005. 90482 used to be known as 2004 DW but quickly received the name Orcus, an underworld deity whom Mike Brown refers to as the anti-Pluto. Rather than hear it from me, it’s best to read his blog:


A couple of things to keep in mind. Because Orcus maintains a semi-major axis of 39.172 AU, reasonable close to the semi-major axis of Pluto, Orcus is a plutino. A plutino is a Trans-Neptunian Object or Kuiper Belt Object that maintains an orbital resonance of 3:2 with Neptune. As Neptune orbits the Sun thrice, Orcus and Pluto do so twice, plus or minus a reasonable margin of time. This means the moon’s name should reflect underworld mythology consistent with the naming protocol for plutinos and their followers (Charon to Pluto, ferryman at the River Styx) and the name cannot have been used for an asteroid as Persephone and Prosepina have been previously consumed. Keep in mind that you have to provide a rationale or a mythic logic as to why this name should apply as part of your submission.

Mike Brown has promised to send the best suggestion he receives to the International Astronomical Union for acceptance, which given his naming history, is quite likely. So, if you’d like a little celestial immortality, you too can join the ranks of astrologers who have submitted names for new objects that have been accepted by astronomical “authority,” including Melanie Reinhart, Robert von Heeren, Zane Stein, John Delaney and me.

I urge you to read his blog using the link above before submitting. Have fun. The deadline for submissions is April 5th.


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