Nestled in the frigid depths of the solar system’s Kuiper Belt, the dwarf planet Eris has long captivated astronomers with its enigmatic nature. Since its discovery in 2005, Eris has remained shrouded in mystery, its internal structure and composition largely unknown. However, a recent study by a team of scientists has lifted the veil, revealing the inner workings of this distant world.
Using a technique known as rotational lightcurve analysis, the researchers analyzed Eris’s subtle variations in brightness as it rotates. These variations, they found, are indicative of the planet’s internal structure and composition. Their analysis suggests that Eris possesses a rocky core, accounting for about 70% of its mass, encased in a thick layer of ice.
This finding is significant as it contrasts with Pluto, another dwarf planet, which is thought to have a higher ice content and may even harbor a subsurface liquid ocean. The difference in composition between these two distant worlds suggests that they may have formed under distinct conditions, offering clues to the early history of the solar system.
The researchers’ findings, published in the journal Science Advances, provide a deeper understanding of Eris’s internal structure and composition, shedding light on its formation and evolution. These insights not only advance our knowledge of this enigmatic dwarf planet but also contribute to our broader understanding of the Kuiper Belt and its diverse inhabitants.