ann19021 — Announcement

Artist’s rendering of 2007 OR10
10 April 2019
Astronomers Invite the Public to Help Name Kuiper Belt Object

Three astronomers, Meg Schwamb, Mike Brown and David Rabinowitz, are inviting the public to help name a Kuiper Belt Object in the outer Solar System. Discovered in 2007, the object was given the designation 2007 OR10 by the Minor Planet Center in November 2009, but has yet to be given a permanent name.

2007 OR10 follows an elliptical orbit beyond Neptune, placing it in the Kuiper Belt. Observations have revealed that it is among the ten largest known Kuiper Belt Objects, and is big enough for its gravity to have made it round. It is mostly rock and ice, and the water ice on its surface is thought to indicate cryovolcanism in its early history. It has a distinctive red colour, which it owes to trace amounts of methane ice on its surface. A moon was discovered orbiting 2007 OR10 in 2016.

As is customary for such objects, the discoverers have been given the opportunity to suggest a permanent name for it. They must submit their suggestion to the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) Committee for Small-Body Nomenclature, which is responsible for officially naming objects.

Suggestions must adhere to IAU naming guidelines, according to which bodies like 2007 OR10 must be named after a deity which reflects their characteristics. The discoverers have researched and identified three potential names, taken from deities that have links to the colour red, to themes of inside turning outside or to water, ice and snow. The three names also have connections to other mythological creatures and deities, leaving open possibilities for naming the moon, which may be suggested by its own discoverers.

The team are asking the public to get involved in choosing the best name for the Kuiper Belt Object 2007 OR10, which they can do by voting online. Voting closes on 10 May 2019, after which the discoverers will submit the most popular name for consideration by the IAU.

More information

The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together more than 13 500 professional astronomers from more than 100 countries worldwide. Its mission is to promote and safeguard astronomy in all its aspects, including research, communication, education and development, through international cooperation. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and the surface features on them. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world's largest professional body for astronomers.



Meg Schwamb
Jana Ticha

Lars Lindberg Christensen
IAU Press Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 320 06 761
Cell: +49 173 38 72 621

About the Announcement



Artist’s rendering of 2007 OR10