The frozen surface of the dwarf planet Eris looks a lot like that of its smaller neighbor Pluto, new research has found.
Both frozen worlds are covered predominantly with nitrogen ice, a research team announced Tuesday (Oct. 5). The find could help astronomers get a better handle on the history of the outer reaches of the solar system….
Eris, discovered in 2005 by planet-hunting astronomer Michael Brown, has one known moon called Dysnomia.
Eris is larger than Pluto — about 1,600 miles (2,581 kilometers) across, compared with 1,430 miles (2,306 km) — and about 27 percent more massive. Eris’ bulk effectively forced astronomers to strip Pluto of its planethood and rebrand it a “dwarf planet” back in 2006.
The ensuing controversy over Pluto’s demotion makes Eris’ name quite fitting: Eris is the Greek goddess of discord and strife, who stirred up jealousy and envy among the goddesses, leading to the Trojan War.
Eris circles the sun from about 9 billion miles (15 billion km) away, making it about twice as remote as Pluto.