We considered many names, of course, and Pluto was the final selection. It was chosen by the staff of the Lowell Observatory. The Lowell Observatory director proposed this name to the American Astronomical Society and the Royal Astronomical Society of Great Britain — that this name be given to the planet — and both bodies accepted it unanimously. So we knew the name would stick. We realized, in the case of the discovery of Uranus, that the name originally did not stick. We did not want to repeat that mistake, you see. So Pluto has stuck.

Pluto was the god of the lower world, of Hades. Pluto’s out there, far from the sun, where sunlight is the average distance: sunlight’s only one-sixteen-hundredth as bright as on Earth — rather dark. And if you think of Hades as a dimly lit place — or utter darkness — it kind of fits in with some of the characteristics of Pluto, probably, or of Hades. So it seemed fairly appropriate from that standpoint. And then, when the satellite of Pluto was discovered in 1978 by (James) Christy at the Naval Observatory, he named it Charon because his wife’s name was Charlene. Now Charon was the boatman who ferried the souls of the dead across the River Styx to Pluto’s realm of Hades. So the satellite name fits in very well with Pluto, you see. And the name Charon didn’t happen to be used. So that was good mythology there.