5 of Jupiter’s newly discovered moons received names in a public contest

The monikers come from Greek and Roman mythology, keeping with tradition


Jupiter, shown in an image from NASA’s Juno spacecraft, has a whopping 79 moons. Five recently spotted ones now have official names.

JPL-Caltech/NASA, SwRI, MSSS, Kevin M. Gill

Meet the new moons of Jupiter. After a public contest, five newly discovered Jovian satellites now have official astronomical names, the International Astronomical Union announced August 26.

Planetary scientist Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., reported the discovery of the moons in July 2018 (SN: 7/17/18), along with seven others. He and his colleagues spotted the moons while searching for a theoretical Planet Nine orbiting beyond Neptune (SN: 7/5/16).

The team solicited name suggestions for the moons on Twitter. There were some rules, most notably that Jupiter’s 79 known moons must all be named for descendants or consorts of the god Jupiter from Roman mythology, or Zeus in Greek myths. But that didn’t stop people from suggesting the names of beloved pets or, perhaps inevitably, Moony McMoonface.

Here are the winners:

Pandia: A daughter of Zeus and the moon goddess Selene, Pandia is the goddess of the full moon. One of the groups to enter this name in the contest was the astronomy club of the Lanivet Community Primary School in Bodmin, England, whose mascot is a panda.

Ersa: Sister of Pandia, Ersa is the goddess of dew. Several people suggested this name, including 4-year-old moon expert Walter, who got the judges’ attention with a song listing the largest moons of the solar system in size order.

Eirene: The goddess of peace, Eirene is the daughter of Zeus and Themis, a Greek Titaness who personifies divine order, justice and law.

Philophrosyne: A granddaughter of Zeus, Philophrosyne is the spirit of welcome and kindness.

Eupheme: Sister of Philophrosyne, Eupheme is the spirit of praise and good omen.

Lisa Grossman is the astronomy writer. She has a degree in astronomy from Cornell University and a graduate certificate in science writing from University of California, Santa Cruz. She lives near Boston.

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