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Pluto’s first place names win official blessing

Pluto map
Pluto’s first official surface-feature names are marked on this map, compiled from images and data gathered by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft during its flight past Pluto in 2015. (IAU Map)

Some of the best-known places on Pluto, including the heart-shaped Tombaugh Regio, have finally gone legit. But lots of other places, such as Cthulhu Regio, are still in the dark.

That’s the upshot of today’s announcement from the International Astronomical Union, confirming that 14 features on Pluto’s surface have been approved for official use.

The decision from the IAU’s Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature comes more than two years after NASA’s New Horizons probe flew past Pluto and gave scientists their first-ever detailed look at the dwarf planet.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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