Science & Tech Dwarf Planet 2007 OR10 Artist Impression by Lexicon Creative Commons ShareAlike Licenced

Published on June 5th, 2013 | by Yellow Magpie


Dwarf Planet 2007 OR10: Formerly Known As Snow White

Dwarf planet 2007 OR10 is the largest body in the Solar System to remain nameless. Despite its size 2007 OR10 has still to be officially recognised as a dwarf planet.

Dwarf planet 2007 OR10 was first discovered in July, 2007, by the Caltech team of Meg Schwamb, David Rabinowitz and Michael Brown using the Palomar Observatory in San Diego, California.

Physical Characteristics

At roughly 1,300 kilometres (800 miles) in diameter, dwarf planet 2007 OR10 is a relatively substantial body. It orbits the Sun at an average distance of 67 Astronomical Units (AU). One AU is the distance between the  Earth and Sun or eight light-minutes.

It takes 2007 OR10 an amazing 551 Earth-years to complete one trip around our local star.

Dwarf Planet 2007 OR10 Orbit Image By Kheider GNU General Public Licence

2007 OR10’s surface temperature has not been precisely measured. It is probably about 30 degrees Kelvin (minus 240 degrees Celsius) depending on where it is in its orbit.

Dwarf Planet 2007 OR10 And Snow White

Michael Brown originally nicknamed 2007 OR10 Snow White as he presumed that the body was coloured white. After it became known that the dwarf planet was a dark red colour the name ‘Snow White’ was dropped.

2007 OR10’s Composition

The surface of 2007 OR10 is believed to be comprised of methane and frozen water. A coating of methane is thought to be responsible for the dwarf planet’s colour.

Dwarf Planet 2007 OR 10 Along With Other Kuiper Belt Objects Photo By Lexicon Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence

It is maintained that during 2007 OR10’s perihelion its proximity to the Sun melts the methane giving it a brief, tentative atmosphere.

The Dwarf Planet That Isn’t

Despite having the required size and probably the necessary hydrostatic equilibrium, dwarf planet 2007 OR10 is still not officially recognised as a dwarf planet.

That fact that 2007 OR10 has got no known satellite means that the mass of the Kuiper Belt Object remains unknown. This makes it much more difficult to give the body dwarf planet status.

Highly Recommended Reading

Visit Wikipedia for more information on Dwarf Planet 2007 OR10.

Check out Yellow Magpie’s The Kuiper Belt: Home To The Dwarf Planets for more insight into this fascinating region of the Solar System.

You may also wish to take a gander at The Solar System And Beyond: A Guide To The Cosmos.

Cosmos is a highly recommended book. It contains large, full-page pictures of the asteroids and writing on the subject by the highly competent author, Giles Sparrow.
For people living in Ireland or the United Kingdom, you can access: Cosmos from here.
For those who live in Canada, you can obtain: Cosmos here.
For Germany: Cosmos.
For France: Cosmos.

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