June 15 2024


An archive of Star Trek News

Sorry Shatner; No Vulcan!

2 min read

Back in February, TrekToday reported that William Shatner‘s campaign to have one of two Pluto moons given the name Vulcan had resulted in a first place finish in the voting, but today comes the news that the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has thumbed its nose at the voters.

Vulcan had finished first in the voting, with 174,062 votes, followed by Cerberus which was second with 99,432 votes.

Instead of using Vulcan as a name, the IAU went with an alternate spelling of Cereberus (Kerberos) and added Styx, which had finished third in the voting.

Vulcan was rejected as a name because there were already too many objects named Vulcan in astronomy, including a class of asteroids, said the IAU. Cerberus was also rejected as an asteroid already bears that name, but an alternate Greek spelling was accepted instead.

“The IAU gave serious consideration to [Vulcan], which happens to be shared by the Roman god of volcanoes,” said SETI officials. “However, because that name has already been used in astronomy, and because the Roman god is not closely associated with Pluto, this proposal was rejected.”

“They didn’t name the moon Vulcan,” said Shatner, via Twitter. “I’m sad. I think they used us for promotional purposes! They’re probably Star Wars fans!”

Not all is lost, however. Space.com reports that craters, mountains and other features to be discovered on the first up-close flyby of Pluto in 2015 may be named after Star Trek characters. “We might have craters called Sulu and Spock and Kirk and McCoy and so on,” said SETI’s Mark Showalter.

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12 thoughts on “Sorry Shatner; No Vulcan!

  1. Good! The name should be saved for an actual planet and not some crappy moon orbiting Pluto.

  2. As I earlier said;

    “Vulcan” will not be selected, as it already applies to a once thought planet, during the 19th Century, orbiting between the Sun and the closest planet, Mercury. It would just be confusing to use it again for another Solar System body. Also in Greek and Roman mythology, Vulcan is not suited to these moons orbiting Pluto, and is neither suited or appropriate. A moon of the dwarf planet, Pluto, will have to be another underworld character or god. Also these names have been already applied to asteroids in the Solar System, being (1865) Cerberus, (399) Persephone and (3361) Orpheus. [Note: The bracketed numbers are the number given in order of discovery .] On Styx has not been so far used, and this is because it is a river and not a god or goddess.

    Cerberus is the three headed guarding the underworld, who just have a different spelling as to to mix up with the asteroid. As said, Styx had not been used.

    Note: These names to be adopted are not truly finally ratified (signed off) until the next International Astronomical Union conference in Hawaii in 2015.

    Official New Release : “Names for New Pluto Moons Accepted by the IAU After Public Vote.” at http://www.iau.org/public_press/news/detail/iau1303/

  3. Woah, woah, woah!!! Stop the presses!!! Did you, at least tangentially, actually just discuss Star Trek? I’m shocked. Stunned. And then saddened to realize you probably did only to show us how useful you used to be… ergo the quotation from before the dark times… before you lost your mind… Shame this SJStar isn’t around more.

    Enter dogpoo “quip” here ___________________________.

  4. That’s a shame. I thought, for a second, you’d actually developed a sense of humor. Oh well. But yeah, people shouldn’t pretend to be other people.

  5. But… but… what about all the scantily clad superheroine cosplayers?? Can’t there be an exemption?

  6. What exactly is a “grow up tool” and why are you exclaiming it?

  7. LOL @ William Shatner’s comment…”they’re probably Star Wars fans!”

  8. I think they should name craters and ridges after Klingons, just because they have them on their heads. Volcanoes after Vulcans, and Mountains after main Star Trek Characters.

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