2007 OR10 orbits the Sun in the far distant outer fringes of the Solar System, in the Kuiper Belt. The discovery also means that astronomers can learn more about how moons formed in the early Solar System.
Hubble spots a moon around the dwarf planet 2007 OR10. These two images, taken a year apart, reveal a moon orbiting the dwarf planet 2007 OR10. Each image, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3, shows the companion in a different orbital position around its parent body. 2007 OR10 is the third-largest known dwarf planet, behind Pluto and Eris, and the largest unnamed world in the solar system. The pair is located in the Kuiper Belt, a realm of icy debris left over from the solar system’s formation.
Credits: NASA, ESA, C. Kiss (Konkoly Observatory), and J. Stansberry (STScI)
Led by Fernando J. Ballesteros, the team used data obtained by the Kepler mission to create a model of the system that could account for all the dips in brightness. These include the up to 20% drop that was observed in 2015 and the non-periodic repetitions and asymmetric dips that followed. From this, they determined that a ringed body and Trojan asteroids that share its orbit could explain the first large dip and the subsequent period of dips.
This explanation not only offers an entirely natural account of what could be causing the star to dim, but also offers a prediction that (if true) would confirm their theory.
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