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Published on May 16th, 2013 | by Yellow Magpie


Dysnomia: Dwarf Planet Eris’s Moon

Dysnomia And Dwarf Planet Eris Photo By NASA And Michael Brown

Dysnomia is a red-coloured moon that provides the companion to the most massive of all the dwarf planets, Eris

Dysnomia was first discovered in 2005 by the Mike Brown-led team using the Keck observatory in Hawaii.

Dysnomia’s Physical Characteristics

Dysnomia is estimated to be somewhere between 350 and 500 kilometres (220 to 300 miles) across. The moon orbits Eris at an average distance of just over 37,000 km (2,300 miles) taking 15 and a half Earth-days to make a complete circuit.

It is thought that the surface of Dysnomia is a dark red colour in stark contrast to the gleaming white of Eris. Dysnomia becomes the farthest-known moon in the Solar System during the partial course of Eris’s long orbit around the Sun.

Dwarf Planet ErisDysnomia And Dwarf Planet Eris Along With Other Kuiper Belt Objects Photo By Lexicon Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence And Moon Dysnomia Along With Other Kuiper Belt Objects Photo By Lexicon Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence

Dysnomia’s Name

Interestingly Dysnomia was given the temporary title of Gabrielle after the character in Xena: Warrior Princess. It was later bestowed its proper name Dysnomia after the Greek goddess Eris’s daughter.

Formation Of Dysnomia

Dysnomia is thought to be a captured Kuiper Belt Object that originally collided with Eris and coalesced to form the natural satellite orbiting the dwarf planet.

The Kuiper Belt Objects were formed from the remnants of an accretion disc that was present during the early stages of the Solar System. Lacking the necessary mass to form planets, and spread out over a far great area,  smaller Kuiper Belt Objects were created instead.

Highly Recommended Reading

Visit Wikipedia for more information on Dysnomia.

Check out Yellow Magpie’s The Kuiper Belt: Home To The Dwarf Planets for more insight into the frozen 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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