Meg Schwamb, Mike Brown and David Rabinowitz discovered (225088) 2007 OR10 on July 17, 2007, at the Palomar Observatory in California, although early traces of its existence date back to 1985. (Alex H. Parker)
A minor planet discovered in our solar system over a decade ago remains nameless, and the astronomers who made the heavenly find are now turning to the public for help.
Meg Schwamb, Mike Brown and David Rabinowitz discovered (225088) 2007 OR10 on July 17, 2007, at the Palomar Observatory in California, although early traces of its existence date back to 1985. Using a 48-inch telescope, the trio identified what they called the largest unnamed world in our solar system as it orbited the Sun beyond Neptune in the Kuiper Belt.
For almost 12 years 2007 OR10 has kept the clinical designation given to it by the Minor Planet Center (MPC) but after years of analysis and research, Schwamb, Brown and Rabinowitz have selected three names they feel best suit the Minor Planet and have put the decision up to a vote on their website.
Participants will be able to choose one of three carefully selected names: Gonggong, Holle and Vili.
Each name was pre-selected to match requirements set by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and has a special meaning that is relevant to the minor planet.
People will have until May 10 to submit their vote and the winner will be announced shortly after. It will then be submitted to the IAU for the final approval.
2007 OR10 consists largely of ice and rock, and astronomers believe that water may have existed on its surface at one point. In 2016 it was announced that the minor planet also had an orbiting moon.
The Minor Planet is not visible to the naked eye.