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Pluto's New Moons To Be Named By Public Vote

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PLUTO MOON
AP

Want to name a Moon?

Astronomers are giving the public the chance to come up with names for two new satellites recently discovered to be orbiting Pluto.

The fourth and fifth moons found orbiting the dwarf planet are currently named P4 and P5, and have been since they were discovered in 2011 and 2012.

They are both tiny in comparison to our own Moon - P4 is between 13km and 34km in diameter, while P5 is smaller, between 10km and 25km.

They both circle Pluto beyond the orbit of Charon, the former-planet's largest companion.

Now the astronomers behind their discovery at the SETI Institute have launched a website, Pluto Rocks, to name the mini marvels.

There is a precedent - Pluto itself was named by 11-year-old Venetia Burney in 1930, after she suggested the name to her grandfather, who sent it to the discoverer Clyde Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory.

There is currently a selection of pre-chosen names from ancient mythology (Cerberus, Acheron, Alecto...) but there is also a space to suggest a new name if you can think of one.

Voting ends on 25 February, but we won't get a chance to see the Moons in 'person' until July 2015, when the New Horizons probe takes a trip past the planet.

And don't worry if your name isn't chosen - there are plenty of extra moons above the Earth to discover and name if you fancy a challenge.