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Published on May 14th, 2013 | by Yellow Magpie


Vanth: Moon Of The Dwarf Planet Orcus

Vanth And Dwarf Planet Orcus Along With Other Kuiper Belt Objects Photo By Lexicon Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence

Vanth is one of the newly discovered moons in the Kuiper Belt. So far it is the only moon of the dwarf planet Orcus.

2005 was the year that Vanth was found. Michael Brown and T.A. Suer are the two who are credited with its discovery.

Physical Characteristics

Vanth is a relatively small moon at just 370 kilometres (230 miles) in width though it may be up to 100 kilometres larger or smaller. It orbits dwarf planet Orcus at a distance of roughly 900 kilometres (560 miles) taking over nine and a half Earth days to do so.

Vanth And Orcus Photo By Kevin Heider

Like all of the Kuiper Belt objects Vanth is unbelievably cold at 44 degrees Kelvin (minus 230 degrees Celsius).

Vanth’s Origins

Vanth is thought to have been a Kuiper Belt object that was captured by dwarf planet Orcus. It is believed that Orcus originally rotated at a much faster rate than it does at present. This would have facilitated the capture of a body as large as Vanth.

Vanth's Dwarf Planet Orcus Photo By NASA

The Name Vanth

Sonya Taaffe proposed the name Vanth after Michael Brown asked for suggestions. The moon is named after one of the Etruscan’s gods. These Iron Age people believed that Vanth was a spirit who acted as a guide for the deceased in the underworld.

Highly Recommended Reading

Visit Wikipedia for more information on Vanth.

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