Name: J Gordon
How do scientists give names to the moons of the planets?
The planets were named long ago after various important Greek and Roman gods
(Mars being the god of war, for example). The moons are generally named
after minor gods that happen to be associated with those major ones.
It is an old custom. It probably started with the ancient custom of naming
the sky according to various religions. Also if a scientist were to name a
moon after himself, no one would agree. So often the names were chosen by a
committee to honor someone or a mythical person. These names were suggested
and argued over and finally voted by associations of scientists and astrono-
Samuel P Bowen
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Update: June 2012