Thu
Jul 21 2011 1:00pm

Name Pluto’s New Moon After Neil Gaiman

Pluto’s fourth moon should be named after Neil Gaiman

The trusty Hubble space telescope has recently discovered a fourth moon orbiting the Kuiper Belt Object known as Pluto. Famously once a planet, Pluto still triumphantly occupies the icy outer-rim of our solar system and up until recently was thought to have three satellites: Hydra, Charon, and Nix. The Hubble has now detected P4 (or designation 2011 (134340) 1 if you want to get sexy about it), making the Pluto family a little bit larger. Astronomers think P4 is roughly 8 to 21 miles long.

We’re very excited about this news, but P4 is no name for a moon. Thus, we propose that this new celestial object be named “Neil Gaiman,” or just “Gaiman,” after the genre-busting author.

Who’s with us? Chime in below with your own thoughts as to what the moon’s name should be! (Hint: The name should be Neil Gaiman.)

[via Reuters]


Stubby the Rocket is the voice and mascot of Tor.com. Stubby discovered Gaiman, the moon and the man, like a really long time ago.

102 comments
Tom Speelman
1. Tom Speelman
I'm in!
Memory Arnould
4. xicanti
I concur! Although, Morpheus would be an equally awesome name.
Tom Speelman
5. BabyButterBean
Best Idea Ever!
Tom Speelman
6. SickFox
Gaiman is the right name for a new discovered moon! Gaiman for President! ;)
Tom Speelman
7. Same
Gaiman for sure.
Tom Speelman
8. Erin Grace
I was thinking Morpheus too! It ties together the naming convention that's been used to now with Gaiman's work! Brilliant!
Tom Speelman
9. RodRiot
I do not know if this it's the best idea. Scholars say that Pluto is not even planet. Gaiman deserves better
Tom Speelman
10. taellosse
While the idea tickles me, it violates the long-established naming convention for celestial objects in our solar system--it's supposed to come from mythology, and preferably Greek/Roman. Neil Gaiman, although verging on legendary status at this point, is part of no pantheon or ancient culture's mythology. Morpheus, on the other hand, could work. Though I feel like it would be better to stick to a name that's related to Pluto/Hades, god of the Underworld.

Personally, I think they should have named Charon 'Persephone,' given their relative sizes and orbits. Then they could use Charon for P4.
Tom Speelman
11. Tom Amitai
Won't he have to die first?
Tom Speelman
12. rebekah
Giving Neil Gaiman a permanent place in the universe is a wonderful idea.
Tom Speelman
13. mujura
I concur! Although, Morpheus would be an equally awesome name.
Tom Speelman
14. zazie
Gaiman it is!
Tom Speelman
15. Jazz
We just have to make sure textbook writers are all Neil Gaiman fans.
Tom Speelman
16. Wendy Edsall-Kerwin
I would definitely vote for Gaiman as the name. Though if you wanted to stick with the whole pantheon thing, pick a character from American Gods then you have the best of both worlds.
Tom Speelman
17. Tertiary
I like Neil quite a bit too. But naming Pluto's new moon after him is just silly: Nyssa, Nix, Charon and Neil? It should clearly be named "Yuggoth", thus honoring strange fungi and one of Neil's progenitors, H.P. Lovecraft.
Tom Speelman
18. Lawra Gosselin-Harris
That would be wonderful!!!
Tom Speelman
19. jere7my
Well, if one of them is already named after Garth Nix....
Tom Speelman
20. Redgrave Anthony
Gaiman!
Tom Speelman
21. Zendealer
i think Niel Gaiman would fit better with the moons of saturn. we could call this moon Bod or Mr Ibis.
Benjamin Lefebvre
22. ioresult
Let's keep the name within the subject of the other moons. As other atronomy sites suggest, I'd go with "Cerberus".
Tom Speelman
23. NotusNasoNovit
What sounds like Morpheus, features prominently in Sandman, and has a connection to the underworld? Orpheus!

Although, really, Morpheus' gates of horn and ivory are in the underworld, too.
Tom Speelman
24. LillibetDanielle
Gaimen!!!
Tom Speelman
25. Door731
I agree that it should be called Gaiman. If Garth Nix gets one, Neil Gaiman should too!
Tom Speelman
26. Serp
This must be done.
Tom Speelman
27. Aranelita
I'm in, too! And, no, he won't have to die first.
Tom Speelman
28. HamCowBoy
DO IT!!! Or at very least name it after one of his characters.
Tom Speelman
29. moldavitesofa
Gaiman, every former planet needs someone to tell their story.
Tom Speelman
30. Luke S.
Pluto's fourth moon, "Mr. Amanda Palmer".
Tom Speelman
31. Dave Letorey
Yes I'm in too and then we could name a God after the moon too.
Tom Speelman
32. Riley Redgate
Can we call it Fat Charlie?
Tom Speelman
33. Turmon
I think it should be called either Neil Gaiman or Captain Shakespeare. :D
Tom Speelman
34. OneHappyAtheist
Meh. I couldn't care less about traditional naming conventions. I think Gaiman would be a perfectly awesome name for a new moon. :)
Tom Speelman
35. Bethany Q.
How about just Niel, it feels so much more personal. Although I'd take Gaiman over just about anything else.
Tom Speelman
36. Kata
Morpheus fits better with the theme, and Neil Gaiman is very famous for his Sandman comics also, so I vote Morpheus!
Tom Speelman
37. threeoutside
Either Gaiman or Morpheus, either would be great!
Tom Speelman
38. Molly B
I agree with this! His name or one of his characters. Maybe Morpheus? :D
Tom Speelman
39. Katy Long
Yes! Name the new moon Gaiman. Love that.
Tom Speelman
41. Patricia Ferreira
Neil Gaiman is a very appropriate name for a moon.
Rowan Shepard
42. Rowanmdm3
@15 There are a lot of textbook editors at my office who are Gaiman fans, but unfortunately none of work on astronomy books. I might have track that team down....
Tom Speelman
43. Jenn/Plaidalicious
Gaiman would be a great name for a tiny moon!
Tom Speelman
44. Bill F
"Gaiman" is perfect.
As for it not being part of the Greek/Roman mythology - isn't that convention getting a little old? Why do two extinct Mediterranean civilizations get to represent the whole human race out in space? The Universe is pretty big, we're going to have to expand beyond Western mythologies at some point. How about "Loki" for something? "Anansi"?
Tom Speelman
45. Tabz
Then everyone could sing.. "I'm better than Neil..." (Dr. Horrible joke)

Seriously though, I like it.
will shetterly
46. willshetterly
Neil's a damn fine fellow, but don't we have enough things named after white guys? If you want an f&sf writer, why not name it Octavia Butler?
Tom Speelman
47. Scott Klinger
Most definitely!!
Tom Speelman
48. Tim Emrick
@taellosse: In Classical mythology, Morpheus/Oneiros dwells in the Underworld, along with most of the other numerous children of Nix. Therefore, Morpheus would fit the naming convention, the Pluto/Hades theme, and Neil's legacy quite well.

BTW, many (but far from all) asteroids have been named after Roman gods and goddesses, too, including Proserpina (Persephone):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Asteroids_named_from_Roman_mythology
Tom Speelman
49. Kiedra
This moon, like all others, already has a name; why isn't anybody asking it?
Tom Speelman
50. TSH
Aziraphale or Crowley. Fallen angels are as underworld as it gets?
Tom Speelman
51. Ante Johansson
Ay!!!
Tom Speelman
52. MJSS
@44: Not everything is Graeco-Roman (e.g., the dwarf planets Sedna, Haumea, and Quaoar are all named from North American or Polynesian mythologies). In fact, Loki (well, "Loge") is already a moon of Saturn -- they ran out of Greek titans to name them after at some point and moved on to Norse frost giants.

I do think a "nothing more recent than Pope" rule for moons is probably a good idea, though, as it'll make the names less likely to seem ridiculous in two hundred years.
will shetterly
53. willshetterly
Also, Delany would be a great name for a moon.
Tom Speelman
54. Frances M
I vote Gaiman! :D
Tom Speelman
55. Saurium
Well, Pluto is the name of the UnderWorld Roman god. I don't see Gaiman as sattelite of it. I'd rather see it as the name of a sattelite of an dark, obscure, further away planet in Solar System (famous planet X).
I would prefere the name Dante, after the "Divine Comedy" for P4.
Tom Speelman
56. trilly
I vote for Neil Gaiman! :D
Tom Speelman
57. Iyapot
Gaiman! Gaiman!
Tom Speelman
58. Chester
It should absolutely be called Gaiman
Tom Speelman
59. Celine
Gaiman for me !
Tom Speelman
60. Tim Emrick
Many minor planets (asteroids, et al.) are named for historical or fictional people, including authors. If Gaiman doesn't get a moon, we can always hope that one of his fans discovers a new minor planet, so that Gaiman join Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, Douglasadams, Cherryh, Saint-Exupery, and Tolkein in space! :)
Tom Speelman
61. thomas meyers
Pratchett or Gaimen works for me. We make the rules as we go along damn it!
Tom Speelman
62. josh and max's mom
Absolutely should be Gaiman.
Tom Speelman
63. Morrigan68
Yes! I vote to immortalise Mr Gaiman!
Tom Speelman
64. Jill Baptist
Do it! The man is a master of spinning tales involving persons both from his head and from ancient mythology. A spot in our solar system for Mr. Gaiman seems apropriate; his writings have starred more then the fair share of characters that those celestial bodies are named for.
Tom Speelman
65. steffon worthington
Morpheus would be good and fitting... Muslim nations may not be pleased about calling a sattelite 'Gay-man'.
Billy Smith
67. Master_Moridin
I say Morpheus. Fits the underworld theme and is connected to Gaiman. Best of both worlds.
Tom Speelman
68. desert rat
Gaiman sounds like a perfect name for a moon, especially one that belongs to an odd little controversial (ex-)planet like Pluto. Gaiman on its own has punch; I'd leave out the Neil part.
Tom Speelman
69. cheese box
It should absolutely be named neil Gaiman
Tom Speelman
70. Tati b.s.
A moon named Gaiman or Morpheus would be so very awesome.
Tom Speelman
72. Madge Russell
Another vote for Gaimon. After all, Uranus was almost named Herschel. Wouldn't you love it? Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Herschel...
Tom Speelman
73. eng. Ilian Iliev
+1
Tom Speelman
75. Rafael Cordeiro
Hell yeah! Gaiman is a great name for that moon!
Thomas Di Paolo
76. Pattom
I'm gonna agree with Morpheus. It fits the theme of naming celestial bodies after mythological figures. That far out at the edge of the solar system is the perfect spot for the lord of dreams to dwell. And, as much as I love Neil's work, it feels strange naming a moon/planetoid after a living person who wasn't involved in its discovery.
Tom Speelman
77. Valkyrie Olson
Neil Gaiman definately. If not, David Bowie. Either are talented, freakishly awesome british people we need to acknowledge even more than we do ( LOL )
Tom Speelman
78. Anastasia D.
Gaiman!!!
Tom Speelman
79. Sethamundo
Gaiman, Morpheus, or ONEIROS
Or maybe Cthulu, he doesn't have a planet name after him yet does he?
Natalie Rubin
81. natabat
Apparently, the team is keeping an eye on this thread at New Scientist for naming ideas. They want something from Greek mythology within the Hades/Underworld theme, so it sounds like Morpheus would be the best bet. Go comment there and back me up!
Tom Speelman
82. Sohm
How about Tyson, after the guy who busted its parent "planet" down to a K.B.O. By the way, is there another name for a satellite of a KBO other than "moon"?
Tom Speelman
83. Jeff R.
I'll suggest "The God in the Charcoal Suit from American Gods". Wordy, but it does fit both the request and the theme, no?
Tom Speelman
84. Lani Chun
Naming the moon after Neil Gaiman would be nice but I think Morpheus would be even nicer, because only fans of Neil's would know the reference to the name, every one else would just think it was chosen for the mythology.
Tom Speelman
85. Jake Longbottom
+1 for Gaiman
Tom Speelman
86. Carl G
Gaiman sounds like a great name for a moon.
Darren James
87. b8amack
Moons orbit planets. Pluto is not a planet. "Death Star" would be a better name... (cue Obi Wan: "That's no moon".)
Tom Speelman
88. Carlee O'Dell
Gaiman!!
Tom Speelman
89. Lin2011
Gaiman! How can this be made to happen!
Tom Speelman
90. Robin Barr
I think there should be a star named Gaiman
Tom Speelman
91. Em'n'D
Yes, definitely, it should be 'Gaiman' - can we get a petition up or something? Who do we need to lobby?
Tom Speelman
92. Smaug's Li'l Brother Puff
No, wrong. I luvs Neil, too, but this is an objectively dumb idea. The new moon should (search your feelings; you know it to be true) be named "Coulton."

Save the Gaiman name for some newly-defined mental state or psychological condition, eh?
Tom Speelman
93. lyrajf716
Morpheus! An idea is more powerful and true than any one person. (No offense, Mr. Gaimen. I learned that from you!)
Sim Tambem
94. Daedos
How about Neil Diamond?
Who's with me?
Anyone?
Tom Speelman
95. G. Miyar
I'm a hundred percent for "Gaiman"... (Tezcatlipoca is the Aztec god of the underworld, but it sounds horrible). Mexican SF-Astronomy-Gaiman fan.
Roland of Gilead
96. pKp
Call it Morpheus. It's a shame there's no space body out there named for the god of Dreaming.
Tom Speelman
97. sandman
I second that.
Tom Speelman
98. David S.
Look, those pointy-headed ass-tronomers didn't listen to the ordinary folk who insisted that Pluto is still a planet, what makes you think they're going to listen to our suggestion for naming one of its moons? They'll be all "oh, that's not mythological dude, it's against the rules".

First we need a revolution - march in the streets, carry burning torches up to their shiny white domes and show them we won't be shoved aside anymore. A few astronomer's heads on pikes ought to do it, Pluto will be a proper planet again, and we'll be able to call the moon Gaiman or whatever we like! While we're at it I think we should get them to do something about Kepler's laws, I hate elipses; make those orbits circular and no more of this inverse square nonsense either!

Hey, I'll bet we can get Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin onto this, it's just the sort of thing they'd go for!
Tom Speelman
99. TiffTiff
The name should be Cerberus after Hades pet dog...Pluto is reference to Hades and a moon is kind of like a planet's pet. Lol.
Tom Speelman
100. pinkpurlknits
Yes!
Tom Speelman
101. mescalito
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand Gaiman it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Darren James
102. b8amack
@94 They should name that diamond the size of Jupiter they just discovered after him. Forget about Pluto's piddly "not-a-moon".

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