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2007 OR10 likely the third-largest known KBO
post Mar 11 2016, 02:52 AM
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Large size and slow rotation of the trans-Neptunian object (225088) 2007 OR10 discovered from Herschel and K2 observations

We present the first comprehensive thermal and rotational analysis of the second most distant trans-Neptunian object (225088) 2007 OR10. We combined optical light curves provided by the Kepler space telescope -- K2 extended mission and thermal infrared data provided by the Herschel Space Observatory. We found that (225088) 2007 OR10 is likely to be larger and darker than derived by earlier studies: we obtained a diameter of d=1535^{+75}_{-225} km which places (225088) 2007 OR10 in the biggest top three trans-Neptunian objects. The corresponding visual geometric albedo is p_V=0.089^{+0.031}_{-0.009}. The light curve analysis revealed a slow rotation rate of P_rot=44.81+/-0.37 h, superseded by a very few objects only. The most likely light-curve solution is double-peaked with a slight asymmetry, however, we cannot safely rule out the possibility of having a rotation period of P_rot=22.40+/-0.18 h which corresponds to a single-peaked solution. Due to the size and slow rotation, the shape of the object should be a MacLaurin ellipsoid, so the light variation should be caused by surface inhomogeneities. Its newly derived larger diameter also implies larger surface gravity and a more likely retention of volatiles -- CH4, CO and N2 -- on the surface.

I think that as it's likely the third-largest known KBO, with a possible atmosphere, this object deserves a thread of its own. Somebody should tell Mike Brown that it's high time that he named this object. As the leader of the discovery team, he's the only one who is allowed to name it under the current system, but he has not bothered to do so for almost a decade. Every other known KBO out there that's even remotely close to it in diameter has long since been officially named.
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post Mar 11 2016, 04:35 AM
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It's not up to Mike to name it; it's his former student who discovered it, Meg Schwamb. He's as irritated as you are that it doesn't have a name yet. She wants to involve the public but hasn't had the time, being a student and then a postdoc who needed to focus on other things. But she just said that it was her new year's resolution to name it this year, so, hopefully, soon.

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post Mar 11 2016, 07:16 PM
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QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Mar 11 2016, 04:35 AM) *
It's not up to Mike to name it; it's his former student who discovered it, Meg Schwamb.

Well, Megan is supposed to mean pearl, something informal like "Black Pearl" or perhaps "Pearl's black world".
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