2007OR10 is currently the third largest known dwarf planet in the transneptunian region, with an effective radiometric diameter of ~1535 km. It has a slow rotation period of ~45 h 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 2007OR10, 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 1.5-5.8×10^21 kg estimate for the system mass leads to a likely 35 to 100 d orbital period. The moon is about 4.2m fainter than 2007OR10 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 harbour satellites, an important constraint for moon formation theories in the young Solar system.
C. Kiss, G. Marton, A. Farkas-Takacs, et. al.
Tue, 7 Mar 17
Comments: Accepted for publication in Astrophysical Journal Letters; 7 pages, 4 figures