Public Invited to Help Name Solar System's Largest Unnamed World
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (SPX) Apr 10, 2019
More than 10 years since its discovery, (225088) 2007 OR10 is the largest minor planet in our solar system without a name, and the 3 astronomers who discovered it want the public's help to change that. In an article published by The Planetary Society today, Meg Schwamb, a planetary scientist who helped discover 2007 OR10, announced a campaign inviting the public to pick the best name to submit to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) for official recognition.
Schwamb writes, "It's time to give 2007 OR10 a name. We're asking your help to pick a suitable name for 2007 OR10 to submit to the International Astronomical Union (IAU). The IAU formally bestows permanent names upon solar system minor planets, but the discoverers have a roughly 10-year period after the body has a well-determined orbit to suggest a name for the IAU to consider.
"We have 3 naming suggestions that fit the IAU naming regulations and are associated with mythological creatures and figures that reflect aspects of 2007 OR10's physical properties. The option with the most votes will be the one that we will formally submit to the IAU for consideration. Head to 2007 OR10 and vote for your favorite naming suggestion. Voting ends on May 10th."
2007 OR10's orbit places it in the Kuiper belt, the sea of icy planetesimals that orbit beyond Neptune. More than 3000 Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) have been discovered to date. Near-infrared spectroscopy has revealed that there are large quantities of pure water ice and possibly traces of methane ice on 2007 OR10's surface.
2007 OR10 has one of the reddest surfaces ever found in the Kuiper belt. It is estimated to be 1,250 kilometers in diameter, which makes it smaller than Pluto and Eris, similar in size to Pluto's moon Charon. 2007 OR10 is likely large enough for gravity to make it round, making it a probable dwarf planet.
2007 OR10 was discovered on July 17, 2007, as part of the Palomar Distant Solar System Survey that searched for distant bodies in the Kuiper belt and beyond.
The team included Mike Brown, principal investigator of the Palomar Distant Solar System Survey, David Rabinowitz, collaborator and principal investigator of the QUEST camera used in the discovery of 2007 OR10, and Meg Schwamb, who helped run the Palomar Distant Solar System Survey as a graduate student at Caltech.
The naming suggestions have been pre-selected to meet the requirements of the International Astronomical Union (IAU):
The deadline to cast a vote is 11:59 pm PDT on May 10, 2019.
Scientists to Conduct Largest-Ever Hubble Survey of the Kuiper Belt
San Antonio TX (SPX) Apr 03, 2019
NASA's Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) recently awarded Southwest Research Institute the largest Hubble Space Telescope (HST) solar system program ever, with 206 of Hubble's orbits around the Earth allocated to the project. The Solar System Origins Legacy Survey (SSOLS) will focus on Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs), particularly binary populations. "The Kuiper Belt is a unique remnant of the solar system's primordial planetesimal disk," said Dr. Alex Parker, the SwRI planetary scientist leadi ... read more
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