Discovery of a Satellite of the Large Trans-Neptunian Object (225088) 2007 OR10

Csaba Kiss, Gábor Marton, Anikó Farkas-Takács, John Stansberry, Thomas Müller, József Vinkó, Zoltán Balog, Jose Luis Ortiz, András Pál

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9 Citations (Scopus)


2007 OR10 is currently the third largest known dwarf planet in the trans-Neptunian region, with an effective radiometric diameter of ∼1535 km. It has a slow rotation period of ∼45 hr that was suspected to be caused by tidal interactions with a satellite undetected at that time. Here, we report on the discovery of a likely moon of 2007 OR10, identified on archival Hubble Space Telescope WFC3/UVIS system images. Although the satellite is detected at two epochs, this does not allow an unambiguous determination of the orbit and the orbital period. A feasible 1.5-5.8 • 1021 kg estimate for the system mass leads to a likely 35-100 day orbital period. The moon is about 4.2 fainter than 2007 OR10 in HST images that corresponds to a diameter of 237 km assuming equal albedos with the primary. Due to the relatively small size of the moon, the previous size and albedo estimates for the primary remains unchanged. With this discovery all trans-Neptunian objects larger than 1000 km are now known to harbor satellites, an important constraint for moon formation theories in the young solar system.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL1
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 20 2017


  • Kuiper belt objects: individual (2007OR10)
  • astrometry
  • methods: observational
  • minor planets, asteroids: general
  • techniques: photometri

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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    Kiss, C., Marton, G., Farkas-Takács, A., Stansberry, J., Müller, T., Vinkó, J., Balog, Z., Ortiz, J. L., & Pál, A. (2017). Discovery of a Satellite of the Large Trans-Neptunian Object (225088) 2007 OR10. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 838(1), [L1].