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A planet is a large astronomical body that is neither a star nor a stellar remnant. There are competing scientific definitions of a “planet”. In the dynamicist definition adopted by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), a planet is a non-stellar body that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, that directly orbits a star, and that has cleared its orbital zone of competing objects. The IAU has also declared that there are eight planets in the Solar System, independently of the formal definition. In the geological definition used by most planetologists, a planet is a rounded sub-stellar body, possibly a satellite. In addition to the eight Solar planets accepted by the IAU, these include dwarf planets such as Eris and Pluto and planetary-mass moons. Bodies meeting the geological definition are sometimes called “planetary-mass objects” or “planemos” for short.
The term planet is ancient, with ties to history, astrology, science, mythology and religion. Apart from the Moon, five planets are visible to the naked eye in the night sky. Planets regarded by many early cultures as emissaries of deities or as divine themselves. As scientific knowledge advanced, human perception of the planets changed, and the invention of the telescope enabled the discovery of additional planetary objects that were diverse in size, shape and orbit. In 2006, the IAU adopted a resolution limiting the number of planets within the Solar System, though they are not following by all astronomers, especially planetologists. The IAU resolution is controversial because it excludes many geologically active planetary-mass objects due to where or what they orbit.
Ptolemy thought that the planets orbited Earth in deferent and epicycle motions. Although the idea that the planets orbited the Sun had been suggested before, it wasn’t until the 17th century that this view was supported by the concrete evidence, in the form of telescopic observations performed by Galileo Galilei. About the same time, by careful analysis of pre-telescopic observational data collected by Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler discovered that the planets’ orbits were elliptical rather than circular. As observational tools improved, astronomers saw that, like Earth, each of the planets rotated around an axis tilted with respect to its orbital pole, and that some shared such features as ice caps and seasons. Since the dawn of the Space Age, close observations by space probes have found that Earth and other planets share additional characteristics such as volcanism, hurricanes, tectonics and even hydrology.
The eight Solar planets in the IAU definition divide into two divergent types: large low-density giant planets and small rocky terrestrial planets. In order of increasing distance from the Sun, they are the four terrestrials: Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars; and the four giants: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Six are orbiting by natural satellites, the two exceptions being the innermost planets Mercury and Venus. Under geophysical definitions, the classification is more complex: the Moon and Jupiter’s moons Io and Europa are additional terrestrial planets, but a large number of small icy planets are also added, such as the dwarf planets Ceres and Pluto and the other large giant-planet moons such as Ganymede, Callisto, and Titan.
Beginning at the end of the twentieth century, several thousand planets have been discovering orbiting other stars. These are referring to as “extrasolar planets”, or “exoplanets” for short. As of 1 April 2022, 4,984 extrasolar planets have been discovering in 3,673 planetary systems. The count includes 815 multi-planetary systems. Known exoplanets range in size from gas giants about twice as large as Jupiter down to just over the size of the Moon.
More than 100 of these planets are approximately the same size as Earth, nine of which orbit in the habitable zone of their star. In 2011, the Kepler Space Telescope team reported the discovery of the first Earth-sized extrasolar planets orbiting a Sun-like star, Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f. A 2012 study, analyzing gravitational microlensing data, estimates a minimum of 1.6 bound planets on average for every star in the Milky Way. As of 2013, one in five Sun-like stars is thought to have an Earth-sized planet in its habitable zone.
Eris (minor-planet designation 136199 Eris) is the most massive and second-largest known dwarf planet in the Solar System. It is a trans-Neptunian object (TNO) in the scattered disk and has a high-eccentricity orbit. Eris discovered in January 2005 by a Palomar Observatory-based team led by Mike Brown and verified later that year. In September 2006, it named after the Greco–Roman goddess of strife and discord.
Eris is the ninth-most massive knowing object orbiting the Sun and the sixteenth-most massive overall in the Solar System (counting moons). It is also the largest object that has not been visiting by a spacecraft. Eris has been measuring at 2,326 ± 12 kilometers (1,445 ± 7 mi) in diameter; its mass is 0.28% that of the Earth and 27% greater than that of Pluto, although Pluto is slightly larger by volume. Eris may complete one rotation every 25.9 hours, making the length of its day close to Earth’s. However, sources disagree on the rotation period.
Eris has one large known moon, Dysnomia. In February 2016, Eris’s distance from the Sun was 96.3 AU (14.41 billion km; 8.95 billion mi), more than three times that of Neptune or Pluto. With the exception of long-period comets, Eris and Dysnomia were the most distant known natural objects in the Solar System until the discovery of 2018 VG18 in 2018.
Because Eris appeared to be larger than Pluto, NASA initially described it as the Solar System’s tenth planet. This, along with the prospect of other objects of similar size being discovering in the future, motivated the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to define the term planet for the first time. Under the IAU definition approved on August 24, 2006, Eris, Pluto and Ceres are “dwarf planets”, reducing the number of known planets in the Solar System to eight, the same as before Pluto’s discovery in 1930. Observations of a stellar occultation by Eris in 2010 showed that it was very slightly smaller than Pluto, which was measured by New Horizons as 2,377 ± 4 kilometers (1,477 ± 2 mi) in July 2015.
Eris is named after the Greek goddess Eris (Greek Ἔρις), a personification of strife and discord. The name was proposed by the Caltech team on September 6, 2006, and it was assigned on September 13, 2006, following an unusually long period in which the object was known by the provisional designation 2003 UB313, which was granted automatically by the IAU under their naming protocols for minor planets.
The name Eris has two competing pronunciations, with a “long” or with a “short” e, analogous to the two competing pronunciations of the word era. The classical English pronunciation of the goddess is /ˈɪərɪs/, with a long e. However, Brown and his students use /ˈɛrɪs/, with disyllabic laxing and a short e.
The Greek and Latin oblique stem of the name is Erid-, as can be seen in Italian Eride and Russian Эрида Erida, so the adjective in English is Eridian /ɛˈrɪdiən/.
Size and Distance
With a radius of about 722 miles (1,163 kilometers), Eris is about 1/5 the radius of Earth. Eris, like Pluto, is a little smaller than Earth’s Moon. If the Earth were the size of a nickel, Eris would be about as big as a popcorn kernel.
From an average distance of 6,289,000,000 miles (10,125,000,000 kilometers), Eris is about 68 astronomical units away from the Sun. One astronomical unit (abbreviated as AU), is the distance from the Sun to Earth. From this distance, it takes sunlight more than nine hours to travel from the Sun to the surface of Eris.
Eris has a very small moon called Dysnomia. Dysnomia has a nearly circular orbit lasting about 16 days. This moon names after Eris’ daughter, the demon goddess of lawlessness.
Dysnomia and other small moons around planets and dwarf planets allow astronomers to calculate the mass of the parent body. Dysnomia plays a role in determining how comparable Pluto and Eris are to each other.
Why Eris is not a planet?
Eris does not clear out its orbit, so it did not meet one of the requirements. Consequently, it placed in the newly created category of dwarf planet along with Pluto and Ceres, which also did not meet all of the requirements to called a planet. Eris has one moon that we currently know about.
How many miles is Eris from Earth?
The distance of Dwarf Planet 136199 Eris from Earth is currently 14,310,753,772 kilometers, equivalent to 95.661480 Astronomical Units.
How long is Eris day?
A day on Eris takes 25.9 hours. Eris has one moon, Dysnomia. Pluto, discovered in 1930, orbits the sun at an average of 39.5 times the Earth’s distance. Its diameter is 1,430 miles (2,302 km).
Is Eris the farthest from the sun?
Eris is the furthest dwarf planet from the Sun, and is also the most massive currently recognizing dwarf planet. Eris is located beyond the orbit of Neptune and beyond the Kuiper belt in a region known as the “scattered disc”.
Can you see the Sun from Eris?
Because it is so distant from us, we cannot observe Eris with the naked eye or even binoculars in the same way as you can planets such as Mars or Jupiter. You’ll need a very powerful telescope and plenty of amateur astronomy experience to view it, so don’t expect it to be featured in our sky guide any time soon!
Is Eris the 10th planet?
Tenth Planet, Dwarf Planet At a meeting of the International Astronomical Union in 2006, astronomers decided to redefine their classification of a planet. And these new rules excluded Eris. Instead of becoming the tenth planet, Eris became a dwarf planet; the same fate as Pluto.