But how did the IAU reach this naming conclusion?
How did Pluto’s moons get their names?
According to their press release, “These names were backed by voters in a recently held popular contest, aimed at allowing the public to suggest names for the two recently discovered moons of the most famous dwarf planet in the Solar System.”
In the midst of this public voting process, Star Trek fans lobbied to name the fourth moon after Vulcan, the home planet of the humanoid race of Vulcans on Star Trek. Due to Trekkie influence, the name Vulcan did win the most number of votes. However, according to the IAU, “a hypothetical planet between Mercury and the Sun” is already named Vulcan, and as to not confuse astronomers, another celestial object cannot have the same name.
But what do Styx and Kereberos mean?
Styx refers to “the river in the underworld across which Charon (another of Pluto’s moons) that ferries dead souls.”
Kerberos (also commonly spelled Cerberus) is “a three-headed dog that guarded the entrance to Hades.”