The dwarf planet could have easily continued to evade astronomers examination if the Konkoly researchers hadn’t thought to pair NASA Kepler data with ESA Herschel data. By combining information about the amount of light the planet was reflecting from Kepler with information about its heat radiation from Herschel, researchers were finally able to calculate an accurate size measurement. The finding also suggests an avenue for learning much more about all those little (or perhaps not-so-little) new planetary discoveries that are popping up all the time now.


For 2007 OR10, these results mean both that we’re finally aware of the existence of one of the largest dwarf planets nearby and that we know more about what that planet is like. With the new size measurements confirmed, the Palomar Observatory astronomers who discovered the planet back in 2007 have also already begun contemplating possible names. From there, the dwarf planet will begin the process of being recognized by the International Astronomical Union, which could take a while to finally wrap up. Still, it means that 2007 OR10 won’t be keeping that designation for long.