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A Pluto-like radius and a high albedo for the dwarf planet Eris from an occultation

Sicardy, B. and Ortiz, J.L. and Assafin, M. and Jehin, E. and Maury, A. and Lellouch, E. and Gil Hutton, R. and Braga-Ribas, F. and Colas, F. and Herstroffer, D. and Lecacheux, J. and Roques, F. and Santos-Sanz, P. and Widemann, T. and Morales, N. and Duffard, R. and Thirouin, A. and Castro-Tirado, A.J. and Jelınek, M. and Kubanek, P. and Sota, A. and Sanchez-Ramirez, R. and Andrei, A.H. and Camargo, J.I.B. and da Silva Neto, D.N. and Ramos Gomes Jr., A. and Vieira Martins, R. and Gillon, M. and Manfroid, J. and Tozzi, G.P. and Harlingten, C. and Saravia, S. and Behrend, R. and Mottola, S. and Garcia Melendo, E. and Peris, V. and Fabregat, J. and Madiedo, J.M. and Cuesta, L. and Eibe, M.T. and Ullan, A. and Organero, F. and Pastor, S. and de los Reyes, J.A. and Pedraz, S. and Castro, A. and de la Cueva, I. and Muler, G. and Steele, I.A. and Cebrian, M. and Montanes-Rodriguez, P. and Oscoz, A. and Weaver, D. and Jacques, C. and Corradi, W.J.B. and Santos, F.P. and Reis, W. and Milone, A. and Emilio, M. and Gutierrez, L. and Vazquez, R. and Hernandez-Toledo, H. (2011) A Pluto-like radius and a high albedo for the dwarf planet Eris from an occultation. Nature, 478, pp. 493-496. Macmillan Publishers. DOI: 10.1038/nature10550.

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Official URL: http://www.nature.com/nature/index.html


The dwarf planet Eris is a trans-Neptunian object with an orbital eccentricity of 0.44, an inclination of 44 degrees and a surface composition very similar to that of Pluto. It resides at present at 95.7 astronomical units (1 AU is the Earth-Sun distance) from Earth, near its aphelion and more than three times farther than Pluto. Owing to this great distance, measuring its size or detecting a putative atmosphere is difficult. Here we report the observation of a multi-chord stellar occultation by Eris on 6 November 2010 UT. The event is consistent with a spherical shape for Eris, with radius 1,163 ± 66 kilometres, density 2.52 ± 0.05 grams per cm3 and a high visible geometric albedo, pV=0.96 (+0.09; -0.04). No nitrogen, argon or methane atmospheres are detected with surface pressure larger than 1 nanobar, about 10,000 times more tenuous than Pluto’s present atmosphere. As Pluto’s radius is estimated to be between 1,150 and 1,200 kilometres, Eris appears as a Pluto twin, with a bright surface possibly caused by a collapsed atmosphere, owing to its cold environment. We anticipate that this atmosphere may periodically sublimate as Eris approaches its perihelion, at 37.8 astronomical units from the Sun.

Document Type:Article
Title:A Pluto-like radius and a high albedo for the dwarf planet Eris from an occultation
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Sicardy, B.LESIA
Ortiz, J.L.Instituto de Astrofısica de Andalucıa
Assafin, M.Observatorio do Valongo
Jehin, E.Universite de Liege
Maury, A.Celestial Explorations
Lellouch, E.LESIA
Gil Hutton, R.CASLEO
Braga-Ribas, F.LESIA
Colas, F.CNRS
Herstroffer, D.CNRS
Lecacheux, J.LESIA
Roques, F.LESIA
Santos-Sanz, P.LESIA
Widemann, T.LESIA
Morales, N.Instituto de Astrofısica de Andalucıa
Duffard, R.Instituto de Astrofısica de Andalucıa
Thirouin, A.Instituto de Astrofısica de Andalucıa
Castro-Tirado, A.J.Instituto de Astrofısica de Andalucıa
Jelınek, M.Instituto de Astrofısica de Andalucıa
Kubanek, P.Instituto de Astrofısica de Andalucıa
Sota, A.Instituto de Astrofısica de Andalucıa
Sanchez-Ramirez, R.Instituto de Astrofısica de Andalucıa
Andrei, A.H.Observatorio do Valongo
Camargo, J.I.B.Observatorio do Valongo
da Silva Neto, D.N.MCT
Ramos Gomes Jr., A.Observatorio do Valongo
Vieira Martins, R.Observatorio do Valongo
Gillon, M.Universite de Liege
Manfroid, J.Universite de Liege
Tozzi, G.P.INAF
Harlingten, C.Caisey Harlingten Observatory
Saravia, S.Celestial Explorations
Behrend, R.Observatoire de Geneve
Mottola, S.stefano.mottola@dlr.de
Garcia Melendo, E.CSIC-IEEC
Peris, V.Universitat de Valencia
Fabregat, J.Universitat de Valencia
Madiedo, J.M.Universitad de Huelva
Organero, F.Observatorio astronomico de La Hita
Pastor, S.Observatorio de la Murta
de los Reyes, J.A.Observatorio de la Murta
Pedraz, S.Calar Alto Observatory
Castro, A.Sociedad Malaguena de Astronomia
de la Cueva, I.Astroimagen
Muler, G.Observatorio Nazaret
Steele, I.A.Liverpool JMU
Cebrian, M.Instituto de Astrofısica de Canarias
Montanes-Rodriguez, P.Instituto de Astrofısica de Canarias
Oscoz, A.Instituto de Astrofısica de Canarias
Weaver, D.Observatorio Astronomico Christus
Corradi, W.J.B.Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
Santos, F.P.Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
Reis, W.Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
Milone, A.INPE-MCT
Emilio, M.Universidade Estadual de Ponta Grossa
Gutierrez, L.Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
Vazquez, R.Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
Hernandez-Toledo, H.Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
Date:27 October 2011
Journal or Publication Title:Nature
Refereed publication:Yes
In Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 493-496
Publisher:Macmillan Publishers
Keywords:Eris, Pluto, dwarf planet, albedo
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport (old)
HGF - Program:Space (old)
HGF - Program Themes:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research area:Space
DLR - Program:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):W - Vorhaben Exploration des Sonnensystems (old)
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Asteroids and Comets
Deposited By: Dr.phys. Stefano Mottola
Deposited On:17 Nov 2011 13:00
Last Modified:26 Mar 2013 13:32

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