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IAU approves 2nd round of names for Pluto features

10 Aug 2019, 12:00 UTC
IAU approves 2nd round of names for Pluto features
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View larger. | This map, compiled from images and data gathered by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft during its flight through the Pluto system in 2015, contains Pluto feature names approved by the International Astronomical Union. Names from the newest round of nominations, approved in 2019, are in yellow. Image via Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/Southwest Research Institute/Ross Beyer.
NASA’s New Horizons team – which sent the New Horizons spacecraft sweeping past Pluto and its moons in 2015 – said on August 8, 2019 that the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has now formally approved a list of new names for features on this outer world. The IAU has claimed for itself the authority to name planets, dwarf planets, moons, asteroids and planetary features in our solar system since its inaugural meeting in Rome in 1922. It named the new features on Pluto for people and missions who, it said, “paved the way” for New Horizons’ visit. The new names describe regions, mountain ranges, plains, valleys and craters seen for the first time by human eyes thanks to New Horizons. Missions like New Horizons take decades to propose, plan and carry out, and no new Pluto mission is in the offing. For many alive today, ...

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