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News Release 307 of 948

June 14, 2007 01:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2007-24

Astronomers Measure Mass of Largest Dwarf Planet

June 14, 2007: NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has teamed up with the W.M. Keck Observatory to precisely measure the mass of Eris, the largest member of a new class of dwarf planets in our solar system. Eris is 1.27 times the mass of Pluto, formerly the largest member of the Kuiper Belt of icy objects beyond Neptune.

Hubble observations in 2006 showed that Eris is slightly physically larger than Pluto. But the mass could only be calculated by observing the orbital motion of the moon Dysnomia around Eris. Multiple images of Dysnomia's movement along its orbit were taken by Hubble and Keck.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Brown (California Institute of Technology)