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Troublemaking Dwarf Planet Gets Troublemaker Name, Eris


The dwarf planet that led to Pluto's recent cosmic demotion has been given a name.

The International Astronomical Union has decided to call the small, icy body on the outskirts of our solar system 136199 Eris, or just Eris for short.

The discovery of Eris last year, and its striking similarity to Pluto, forced renewed talks on what constitutes a planet. Last month, the Union downgraded Pluto to dwarf status, prompting an outcry from sentimentalists.

The Union acknowledges Eris' controversial role. The name honors the Greek goddess of discord and strife, who provokes jealousy and fighting among men.

Eris’ moon has been named Dysnomia after the Daimon spirit of lawlessness, who was also the daughter of Eris.

Eris had been going by the designation of 2003 UB313 until receiving its official name, but its discoverers had informally dubbed it Xena.

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