BBC News is reporting that astronomers have detected a '10th planet' orbiting the Sun. So far this doesn't seem to be generating much attention - a sad reflection of the limited interest in the universe beyond this small little world these days.
The planet is about three times the further away than Pluto and it could be centuries before a space probe is sent there. At the moment it's being called 2003 UB313 - doesn't that name just roll off the tongue? A new name will be needed that is in line with the other planet names. So which of the following could work?
Apollo - but calling a world so far out after the god of the sun seems silly
Bacchus - the god of wine - would this say that drinkers must be kept at a distance?
Ceres - the goddess of the earth so this is about as silly as Apollo
Cupid - but the world would be so far from his mother Venus
Diana - really the goddess of the moon so again a bit far out
Fortuna - one of the ones everyone forgets - the goddess of luck so is it lucky to be so far out?
Janus - the god of doors - can we say for definite that this world is the doorway to the solar system?
Juno - the queen of the gods and the wife of Jupiter. It would be saying a lot about their marital issues that the two would be so far apart!
Maia - the goddess of growth - is there much of this on that world?
Minerva - the goddess of wisdom but does being a planet so far out strike you as wise?
Proserpina - the Queen of the underworld - and as Pluto is the king would this work?
Quirinus - the god of defense & the state - again not a name to be used lightly until we're sure there are no more worlds
Vesta - the goddess of hearth and similarly a bit far out
Vulcan - now this will get the vote of Star Trek fans. The problem is that Vulcan is traditionally a planet closer to the Sun than Mercury (the theory on this was popular in the 1960s hence a lot of science fiction from the time features a world called Vulcan), not a distant world at the extremes of the Solar System.
Alternatively, if we stick with the science fiction theme how about calling it Cassius, which is the name of a world beyond Pluto in Doctor Who?