Whence Pluto's moon "Charon"?

Back in the day science fiction writers fixed upon the name Persephone for any moon that might eventually be discovered circling Pluto. But it was not to be- we got Charon. How did Persephone lose out?

Because the discoverer’s wife was called Charlene, and he got dibs.

On June 24, 1978, Christy first suggested the name Charon as a scientific-sounding version of his wife Charlene’s nickname, “Char”. Although colleagues at the Naval Observatory proposed Persephone, Christy stuck with Charon after discovering that it coincidentally refers to a Greek mythological figure

Charon (moon) - Wikipedia

As an interesting corollary, this etymology is used as justification for pronouncing it with a soft “sh”, rather than the hard “k” of the Greek.

Dang! Ninjaed!

(Link removed)
Wikipedia says Charon fit as a tribute to the discoverer’s wife, as well as being a mythological figure related to the real of the dead, so he ignored the people saying Persephone would be better.

And countless school children thank him for choosing Charon since Persephone is tricky to spell and even trickier to pronounce.

They’ve had four more chances to use Persephone, but went with Nix, Hydra, Styx, and Kerberos for Pluto II - V.

Personally, I think they should have gone with Goofy.

Persephone is a better name for the hypothetical ‘tenth’ (now ninth) outer planet as Queen of the Underworld, overseeing Kuiper Belt Objects.


That’s fucking crazy!

And I can’t help it: Persephone will always be in my head as pronounced “Percy Phone” If they wanted is pronounced Per sef inny they should spell it that way. My sister See ob han agrees it is the epi tome of bad spelling.

Not everyone is as good at pro-no-un-sing as we are.

It’s almost like the name isn’t originally English or something

And if they wanted it pronounced “Persephone”, then they should have spelled it that way. Oh, wait, they did.

What a Mickey Mouse name! And you know Pluto isn’t a real planet; it’s a dog planet!

Personally, I didn’t like that they called it Charon. But that’s because about a year earlier, someone had discovered Chiron, which was the first centaur found. (Centaurs are small bodies that orbit between and among the four giant planets. Most of them will eventually become short period comets.) I thought it confuising to have two bodies with such similar names.

I’ll speculate that the list of humans who a) know both bodies’ names, and b) aren’t well-versed enough in astronomy to easily keep them straight, is a very short list.

The trouble with “Persephone” is it sounds like a direct competitor of the iPhone.

They would have gone with Persephone but the moon asked to talk to the IAU’s manager.

Clearly a Charon

Mork [Robin Williams]: “Oh, don’t ever go to Pluto; it’s a Mickey Mouse planet!

A much loved flat Earther meme,

And Charon was discovered exactly 44 years ago today.

One (gadfly) astronomer proposed “Chronos” as the name for Pluto. Which would have made a “Chronos”/“Charon” pairing interesting.

OTOH, it probably would have reinforced the “Chronos”/“Cronus” confusion. Which is why Father Time (Chronos) wields a sickle (Cronus).

Hard to post to SDMB when you’re 40 AU away.

Need really good wi-fi.