Home » A Close Look At Eris: Discovering The Secrets Of The Dwarf Planet

A Close Look At Eris: Discovering The Secrets Of The Dwarf Planet

by spacelover71

Eris, a mysterious dwarf planet, has captivated the attention of astronomers and astrologers alike. Named after the Greek goddess of chaos and discord, Eris has a unique history and a fascinating set of characteristics that make it one of the most intriguing puzzle pieces of the Solar System.


Eris, the most distant known dwarf planet in the Solar System, was discovered in January of 2005 by a team of astronomers at the Palomar Observatory in California. The planet got its name from its discoverer, Michael E. Brown, who is now an astronomy professor at the California Institute of Technology. Initially, it was nicknamed Xena, after the famous warrior princess.

Until recently, much of what we know about Eris has been based on speculation and theoretical models. By examining the dwarf planet, we can gain a greater understanding of its history, characteristics, and role in the Solar System. We can also explore the secrets that Eris may be hiding, and hopefully, answer some of the unanswered questions about this enigmatic world.

Eris is a dwarf planet that is located in the far reaches of the Kuiper Belt, a circumstellar disc of icy bodies that is located beyond the orbit of Neptune. This distant dwarf planet is believed to be one of the largest and most massive objects in the Kuiper Belt.

The Kuiper Belt is a relatively new field of study, and until recently, it was not known if Eris or any of the other icy bodies in the Kuiper Belt had any moons. However, in 2005, it was discovered that Eris has a moon, Dysnomia, which is a small, irregularly shaped body that orbits the dwarf planet once every 16 days.

The physical and chemical composition of Eris is of particular interest to astronomers as it can provide insights into how the Solar System formed and how it continues to evolve. To this end, much research has been done to understand the mass, size, and rotational period of Eris as well as the composition of its atmosphere.

In addition, by studying Eris, we can gain a better understanding of the orbital patterns of the dwarf planet within the Solar System and how it interacts with other planets. We can also learn more about Dysnomia, the moon of Eris, and its impact on the dwarf planet.

Overall, Eris is a mysterious and fascinating world. By examining the dwarf planet, we can learn more about its history, characteristics, and role in the Solar System. We can also uncover the secrets that Eris may be hiding, and hopefully, answer some of the unanswered questions about this enigmatic world.


The origin and discovery of Eris, the dwarf planet, can be traced back to the early 2000s. It was at that time that astronomers noticed an object in the outer reaches of the Solar System that appeared to be larger than Pluto, leading them to suspect that they had discovered something new and exciting. Initial calculations showed that the object was approximately the same size as Pluto, sparking further interest in the mysterious planetoid.

In September 2005, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) officially declared the discovery of Eris, assigning it the provisional name “2003 UB313”. This started a process of intense observation and research to determine the exact details of the planet, such as its composition, size, and rotation.

It was during this period of study that astronomers realized that the planet was indeed larger than Pluto, creating a conundrum for the IAU.

The IAU had to decide whether to classify the newly discovered planet as a planet or a dwarf planet. It was determined that Eris was in fact a dwarf planet and the IAU proposed a new naming convention for such objects. This was the first time the IAU had officially recognized the dwarf planet classification, thus paving the way for future discoveries.

In April 2006, the IAU announced its decision that Eris was to be officially recognized as a dwarf planet, giving it the name “Eris” and its moon Dysnomia. Once the classification of Eris was settled, astronomers could focus their attention on further exploration of the planet.

This included a more detailed analysis of the physical and chemical composition of Eris, its mass, size and rotation, and its impact on the Solar System.

The position of Eris in relation to other planets was also studied, along with its orbital patterns in the Solar System and how it interacted with other planets. Astronomers also took a close look at Dysnomia, the moon of Eris, examining its orbital patterns and the impact it had on the planet.

Subsequent research revealed new information about the atmosphere on Eris and the temperature range, which helped to further unlock the secrets of the dwarf planet.

Through these observations, scientists have been able to uncover many of the secrets of Eris. While much has been learned, there are still unresolved questions and areas of research that have yet to be explored. With new discoveries about the dwarf planet potentially holding implications for our understanding of the Solar System, it is clear that there is still much to learn about Eris.



When it comes to size, Eris is the second largest dwarf planet in the Solar System, after Pluto. It is about 2,326 kilometers in diameter and is slightly larger than Pluto. Eris has a relatively high density for a dwarf planet at 2.52 grams per cubic centimeter. It is believed to be composed of an icy mantle of frozen nitrogen and methane, with a rocky core.

Eris has an estimated mass of 10.3×1021 kg, which is about 27% more than Pluto’s mass. It also has a rather eccentric and inclined orbit, ranging from 38 AU to 97 AU from the Sun. Eris has an axial tilt of about 105.81°, and a rotation period of 25.9 hours.

The presence of Eris affects the dynamics of the outer Solar System, as well as the orbits of other trans-Neptunian objects. Its focus of attraction is located just outside the center of mass of the Solar System, which has caused a subtle shift in the orbits of the other planets.

In addition, Eris’s gravity can also affect the orbits of other dwarf planets, such as Makemake and Haumea. Eris has a large gravitational influence on the orbits of the objects beyond Neptune, and it may be responsible for some of the changes in the orbits of objects like Sedna, and even distant comets.

Eris’s location in the Solar System also has an effect on the orbits of planets like Uranus and Neptune. Its gravitational force can cause Neptune to move closer to the Sun, while it can pull Uranus away from it. In addition, Eris’s presence can cause Neptune’s orbit to become more elliptical, which can result in its orbit crossing with that of the other planets.

Finally, Eris’s orbit can also affect the orbits of some asteroids, such as Vesta and Ceres. The effects of Eris’s orbit on these asteroids may be responsible for some of the changes in their orbital paths.


Planetary System

Understanding Eris’ place in the Solar System is an important part of understanding the dwarf planet. Eris is located in the far outer reaches of the Kuiper Belt, a region of icy, rocky bodies beyond Neptune. Eris is the second largest known Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) after Pluto and is currently located at 97 AU from the sun.

Its orbit is extremely distant and highly elliptical, taking 558 Earth years to complete. Eris has an orbital inclination of 44.034° and an orbital eccentricity of 0.44068.

Eris has the most distant perihelion, or closest approach to the sun, of any large KBO, at 38 AU. Additionally, due to its highly elliptical orbit, Eris is significantly farther away from the sun than any other large KBO. As a result, Eris receives very little sunlight and has a very low surface temperature, estimated to be around -233°C.

Eris’ eccentric orbit also causes it to interact with Neptune in a gravitational tug-of-war, perturbing the orbits of other KBOs. This interaction has a noticeable impact on the distribution of KBOs, as it causes them to be scattered over larger distances and become more evenly spaced out.

Eris is also notable for its high orbital similarity with Pluto, as their orbits have a similar shape and orientation. This similarity suggests that the two dwarves were once part of the same population of bodies before they were separated by the gravitational influence of Neptune.

Furthermore, Eris has an orbital resonance with Neptune, meaning that its orbit is in a 1:4 ratio with Neptune’s orbit. This resonance amplifies the gravitational interaction between the two bodies and affects the overall orbital stability of the Solar System.

Finally, Eris is part of a group of objects known as the “scattered disk objects,” which are KBOs whose orbits have been affected by the gravitational interactions of Neptune and other planets.

This group includes bodies such as Sedna, Varuna, and Quaoar, and it is believed that Eris and these other objects were once part of the same population of bodies before they were scattered across the Solar System by Neptune’s gravitational influence.



The most notable feature of Eris is its moon Dysnomia. Dysnomia orbits around Eris similarly to Earth’s moon and is the second largest known trans-Neptunian object moon. Dysnomia is approximately one-twelfth the mass of Eris, and it orbits Eris at an average distance of 37,400 km.

The moon takes a little over 16 hours to make a complete orbit, and its orbital inclination is just 0.14 degrees in relation to Eris.

The origin of Dysnomia is still largely unknown. It is believed that Dysnomia was formed through an accretion process, similar to how Earth’s Moon formed. It is also possible that Dysnomia was formed from debris that resulted from a giant impact between two proto-planets.

The orbital patterns of Dysnomia and its rotation in relation to Eris are yet to be fully understood. It is thought that Dysnomia’s orbit is in 3:1 resonance with Eris, which means that Dysnomia completes three orbits for every one orbit of Eris. This relationship between the two objects has an influence on each of their orbits and gravitational influences.

The impact of Dysnomia on Eris is still being studied. Dysnomia’s orbit is believed to have strong effects on Eris’s obliquity, which could account for the variations in Eris’s axial tilt.

Dysnomia’s influence on Eris’s orbital elements could also cause the two objects to have a chaotic relationship which could result in drastic changes in their orbits over a short period of time.

The existence of Dysnomia has implications for the habitability of Eris. It is thought that Dysnomia’s gravity could affect the internal structure of Eris, and could even cause Eris to become a synchronous rotator. This would mean that one face of Eris would be permanently facing Dysnomia, leading to extreme temperature variations and possible atmospheric changes.

Studying Dysnomia could also provide new insights into the many mysteries surrounding Eris. Dysnomia’s orbit and its interactions with Eris could provide clues to the formation of the solar system, and could even explain why some objects have been scattered into the Kuiper Belt beyond Neptune’s orbit.

The secrets of Dysnomia are yet to be unlocked, and further exploration into the moon is needed to understand its impact on the dwarf planet Eris. By looking at Dysnomia and its relationship to Eris, scientists can gain a better understanding of the mysterious dwarf planet and the wider Solar System.


Eris is a dwarf planet in the Solar System, located beyond the orbit of Neptune and is the farthest known body in our Solar System. As with all dwarf planets, Eris does not possess an atmosphere of its own. Scientists have been studying the atmosphere on Eris to learn more about the dwarf planet, and the secrets it holds.

The atmosphere on Eris is composed of a variety of molecules, including nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane. These gases are tiny and are not easily detectable. It is estimated that the atmospheric pressure on the surface of Eris is around 0.0001 kilopascals. This is much lower than Earth’s atmospheric pressure.

The temperature range on Eris is extremely low, with the highest temperatures being around -197°C and the lowest temperatures being around -223°C. This is due to the distance of Eris from the Sun, and its low surface temperatures.

Due to the extremely cold temperatures, Eris does not have any liquid water on its surface, which means that the atmosphere on Eris is not conducive to life. The gases that are present on Eris are mainly trapped due to the low atmospheric pressure, and there is very little to no wind movement on the surface.

The atmosphere on Eris can be manipulated to some extent by the dwarf planet’s gravity. Gravity is able to a certain degree control the atmosphere, allowing the gases to move around the planet. However, gravity is not strong enough to affect the atmosphere permanently, and the molecules are ultimately pulled back to the planet’s surface.

The atmosphere on Eris has a unique effect on the planet’s surface. The atmosphere acts as a blanket over the planet, trapping the heat from the Sun and preventing it from being completely lost. This helps to keep the temperatures on Eris from becoming even lower than they already are.

The atmosphere on Eris also influences the molten material beneath the planet’s surface. The atmosphere is able to trap the heat from the Sun and stop it from escaping, which helps to keep the molten material in a liquid state underneath the planet’s surface.

The atmosphere on Eris is a fascinating part of the dwarf planet, and further study is needed to fully understand it. Scientists are still working to uncover the secrets of the atmosphere on Eris, and the implications of further discoveries could be profound.


Unsolved Mysteries

The dwarf planet Eris is teeming with mysteries and unanswered questions. Scientists are still trying to understand the dynamics of its orbit, its unique composition, and its atmosphere. With the wealth of new information coming in from both probes and Earth-based telescopes, they are slowly unlocking the secrets of this celestial body.

Eris still presents some strange anomalies. Of particular interest is the fact that its orbit around the Sun is highly eccentric, meaning it is more elongated than circular.

This means it spends much of its time relatively far away from the Sun, making it difficult to study. This also means that it spends more time in the outermost regions of the Solar System, where the temperature and conditions are different from other planets.

Another mystery surrounding Eris is its composition. Scientists have found that Eris is composed of a mix of materials that do not match any of the known elements in the Solar System. Even more puzzling is the fact that Eris has a lower average density than Earth, which suggests that it is composed of materials that are less dense than normal.

The atmosphere of Eris is also a source of mystery. Scientists have determined that the atmosphere is mostly nitrogen and methane, but other compounds are also present. This has led to speculation about the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere and whether there are any clouds present.

The composition of Eris’ natural satellite Dysnomia has also puzzled scientists. Dysnomia has an unusual, mostly metallic composition, and it is unclear why this is the case. The presence of this unusual material suggests that it may not be a natural object, or even a moon of Eris, but rather an artificial creation of some kind.

In addition, the precise nature of Eris’ interactions with other planets in the Solar System is still unknown. While it is known that it is in a 3:2 resonance with Neptune, it is unclear what other effects this has on other planets in the system.

Finally, the process by which Eris formed and evolved is still unknown. Scientists have speculated that it is a leftover piece of the early Solar System, but it is unclear how it formed and why it is so different from other planets.

Overall, Eris is a fascinating dwarf planet with a host of mysteries still to be unraveled. With the help of observing probes and new research, scientists are slowly uncovering the secrets of Eris, and the answers to some of these questions may help to unlock still greater mysteries of the Solar System.



The dwarf planet was named for Eris, the Greek goddess of strife and discord.
The diameter of Eris is 1445 miles (2326 km)
Eris has a very small moon called Dysnomia whose orbit lasts about 16 days.
This moon is named after Eris’ daughter, the demon spirit of lawlessness.
A day on Eris is much like a day on Earth – it completes one rotation every 25.9 hours
It takes 558 Earth years for Eric to make one trip around the sun.
Eris is currently positioned around 14.5 billion km from Earth
Eris is slightly smaller than Pluto, it is less than 50 km in diameter
The average temperature on the surface is now -423 °F
Eris was going to be named Xena
Eris is located in the Kuiper belt


Discovered by
  • M. E. Brown
  • C. A. Trujillo
  • D. L. Rabinowitz
Discovery date January 5, 2005
MPC designation
(136199) Eris
Pronunciation /ˈɛrɪs/
Minor planet category
  • Dwarf planet
  • TNO
  • SDO
  • Binary
Orbital characteristics
Epoch May 31, 2020
(JD 2459000.5)
Earliest precovery date September 3, 1954
Aphelion 97.457 AU (14.579 Tm)
Perihelion 38.271 AU (5.725 Tm)
Semi-major axis
67.864 AU (10.152 Tm)
Eccentricity 0.43607
Orbital period (sidereal)
559.07 yr (204,199 d)
Average orbital speed
3.434 km/s
Mean anomaly
Mean motion
0° 0m 6.307s / day
Inclination 44.040°
Longitude of ascending node
Time of perihelion
≈ 7 December 2257
±2 weeks
Argument of perihelion
Known satellites Dysnomia
Physical characteristics
Mean diameter
2326±12 km
Mean radius
1163±6 km
Surface area
(1.70±0.02)×107 km2
Volume (6.59±0.10)×109 km3
  • (1.6466±0.0085)×1022 kg (system)
  • >1.6×1022 kg (Eris only)
  • 0.0027 Earths; 0.22 Moons
Mean density
2.43±0.05 g/cm3
Equatorial surface gravity
0.82±0.02 m/s2
0.084±0.002 g[c]
Equatorial escape velocity
1.38 ± 0.01 km/s
Sidereal rotation period
15.786 d (synchronous)
Axial tilt
≈ 78.3° to orbit (assumed)
≈ 61.6° to ecliptic (assumed)
Geometric albedo
 [sic] geometric
Surface temp. min mean max
(approx) 30 K 42 K 56 K
Spectral type
B−V=0.78, V−R=0.45
Apparent magnitude
Absolute magnitude (H)
Angular diameter
34.4±1.4 milli-arcsec


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