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Born on this day
Willis Eugene Lamb, Jr.
Willis Eugene Lamb, Jr. was an American physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics.
28th week in year
12 July 2019

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Astronomers announce their discovery of a dwarf planet29.7.2005

Wikipedia (17 Jul 2013, 14:09)

Eris, minor-planet designation 136199 Eris, is the most massive known dwarf planet in the Solar System and the ninth most massive body known to orbit the Sun directly. It is estimated to be 2326 (±12) km in diameter, and 27% more massive than Pluto, or about 0.27% of the Earth's mass.

Eris was discovered in January 2005 by a Palomar Observatory-based team led by Mike Brown, and its identity was verified later that year. It is a trans-Neptunian object (TNO) and a member of a high-eccentricity population known as the scattered disc. It has one known moon, Dysnomia. As of 2011, its distance from the Sun is 96.6 AU, roughly three times that of Pluto. With the exception of some comets, Eris and Dysnomia are currently the most distant known natural objects in the Solar System.


Discovery

Eris was discovered by the team of Mike Brown, Chad Trujillo, and David Rabinowitz on January 5, 2005, from images taken on October 21, 2003. The discovery was announced on July 29, 2005, the same day as Makemake and two days after Haumea, due in part to events that would later lead to controversy about the latter. The search team had been systematically scanning for large outer Solar System bodies for several years, and had been involved in the discovery of several other large TNOs, including 50000 Quaoar, 90482 Orcus, and 90377 Sedna.

Routine observations were taken by the team on October 21, 2003, using the 1.2 m Samuel Oschin Schmidt telescope at Mount Palomar Observatory, California, but the image of Eris was not discovered at that point due to its very slow motion across the sky: The team's automatic image-searching software excluded all objects moving at less than 1.5 arcseconds per hour to reduce the number of false positives returned. When Sedna was discovered, it was moving at 1.75 arcsec/h, and in light of that the team reanalyzed their old data with a lower limit on the angular motion, sorting through the previously excluded images by eye. In January 2005, the re-analysis revealed Eris's slow motion against the background stars.

Follow-up observations were then carried out to make a preliminary determination of Eris's orbit, which allowed the object's distance to be estimated. The team had planned to delay announcing their discoveries of the bright objects Eris and Makemake until further observations and calculations were complete, but announced them both on July 29 when the discovery of another large TNO they had been tracking, Haumea, was controversially announced on July 27 by a different team in Spain.

More observations released in October 2005 revealed that Eris had a moon, later named Dysnomia. Observations of Dysnomia's orbit permitted scientists to determine the mass of Eris, which in June 2007 they calculated to be 1.66±0.02×1022 kg, 27% greater than Pluto's.

   
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