Contest to name Pluto's two smallest moons

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Want to name Pluto's two tiniest moons? Then you'll need to dig deep into mythology. Astronomers announced a contest yesterday to name the two tiny moons of Pluto discovered over the past two years.

Pluto is the Roman equivalent of the Greeks' Hades, lord of the underworld. Its three big moons are Charon (ferryman of Hades); Nix (the night goddess), and Hydra (the multiheaded monster).

The two unnamed moons, no more than 15 to 20 miles across, need similarly shady references.

Online voting on 12 choices is offered at http://www.plutorocks.com and will last until Feb. 25.

Among the choices: Hercules, who slew Hydra; Obol, the coin put in the mouths of the dead as payment to Charon; Cerebrus, the three-headed dog guarding the gates of the underworld; Orpheus, who used his talents to get his wife, Eurydice, out of the underworld, only to lose her by looking back: Eurydice; and Styx, river to the underworld.

Styx led in early voting. -- AP

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