· · · ·


136199 Eris, 2003 UB313
Originally provisionally named ‘Xena’

Proper NameEris (originally provisionally named 'Xena')
Minor Planet Designation136199 Eris
Provisional Designation2003 UB313
Orbital Period560.23 years
Distance from the SunSemi-Major Axis: 10,139,893,000 km (67.78 AU)
Perihelion: 5,671,445,000 km (37.91 AU)
Aphelion: 14,608,341,000 km (97.65 AU)
Rotation Period25.9 hours (approximate)
Diameter2,326 km
Temperature42.5K (-230.7°C)
Parent starThe Sun, yellow dwarf
Other planets in this systemMercury, terrestrial planet
Venus, terrestrial planet
Earth, terrestrial planet
Mars, terrestrial planet
Jupiter, gas giant
Saturn, gas giant
Uranus, ice giant
Neptune, ice giant
Numerous dwarf planets, asteroids and other bodies
NotesThe most massive dwarf planet so far discovered, and one of the largest (its diameter is only marginally smaller than that of Pluto), Eris pursues a highly eccentric orbit through the outer fringes of the Solar System. It has a single known moon, named Dysnomia.

A distant body discovered in 2005, Eris has a diameter comparable with that of Pluto, but is rather more massive. Its mass in fact approaches a third that of the Earth, making it the most massive of the dwarf planets currently known.

Eris follows a highly eccentric orbit taking it far outside the plane of the Solar System. It is thought to have originated in the inner parts of the Kuiper Belt, and been thrown into this extreme orbit by interactions with Neptune early in its history. At its farthest extent, Eris' orbit takes it nearly 100 AU from the Sun, making it the most distant significant object in the Solar System (it is presently close to this aphelion distance). At other points in its 557-year orbit, it can approach the Sun much more closely, sometimes coming nearer than Pluto.

The distant orbit of Eris carries it through the cold outer depths of the Solar System, and its surface is thought to the be covered with frozen methane, at least while at its current distance. As it approaches the Sun every few centuries, its warming surface may cause this methane covering to sublimate, or turn to gas; the details of this process are unclear.

Eris has a single known moon named Dysnomia. When first discovered, Eris and its moon (which was identified some months after the dwarf planet itself) were provisionally named Xena and Gabrielle, after characters in the television series Xena: Warrior Princess. The more formal names Eris and Dysnomia were later established to reflect the standard naming conventions for planets of this type.


Related Entries