Eris is the most recognized of the dwarf planets and is the furthest of these from the sun. It is in the Kuiper Belt and outside of Neptune’s orbit.
|Discovered By:||M.E. Brown C.A. Trujillo & D.L. Rabinowitz|
|Discovery Date:||January 5th 2005|
|Mass:||1.66 × 10^22 kg (0.23 Moons)|
|Orbit Distance:||10,120,000,000 km (68.01 AU)|
|Orbit Period:||560.9 years|
Named after the mythological Greek goddess of strife and discord, the name almost seems perfect due to the fact that there was a dispute over whether or not Eris qualified as a dwarf planet.
Some of the other names that scientists tossed around for Eris included Xena (from the television show about a warrior princess); Persephone, wife of the mythological Greek go Pluto/Roman Hades; and Lila.
The original designation name for Eris was 2003 UB313. The team of scientists held onto the nickname of Xena until Eris was given an officially designated name.
At one point, Pluto was considered to be the 9th planet in our solar system and Eris was going to be the 10th. Eris is large in size and was thought to be over 28% bigger than Pluto.
In 2006, the IAU (International Astronomical Union) met and established the rules for plant classification and created a new classification of dwarf planet.
Both Pluto and Eris became dwarf planets. The New Horizons spacecraft mission flyby corrected the fact that Pluto is indeed larger than Eris, but only by around 12 miles.
Eris has a single moon named Dysnomia that is named after the Greek mythological daughter of Eris, known as the goddess of lawlessness.
It takes Dysnomia 16 Earth days to finish a full orbit. The same team that nicknamed Eris with the name “Xena,” decided to nickname the moon with “Gabriella,” Xena’s sidekick in the television show.
The asteroid belt is found between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars and contain thousands of small celestial objects. All of these objects in the asteroid belt could fit inside of Eris.
The size of Eris is considered to be large for the outer realm of the solar system, even though it is just 2/3 the size of our own moon.
It’s thought that Eris may have originated inside the Kuiper Belt but that during the formation of the solar system, Neptune’s gravitational pull forced Eris out into the asteroid belt.
Eris is quite a distance from the sun and so far that so little sunlight reaches Eris that its atmosphere often freezes.
As Eris makes its orbit closer to the sun the atmosphere begins to thaw. Scientists believe that Eris shares a lot of Pluto’s traits, including a rocky surface.
Due to Eris’ orbit, it changes in status from being the furthest outside of the Kuiper Belt and is replaced by Pluto.
Will Grundy at the Lowell Observatory called Eris the “Sputnik planet” and thought that it might be an ice lava lamp planet.
The scientists learned many lessons from Eris regarding a tiny planet so far from the sun that might have a lot of activity.