Nicknamed “Snow White,” it lies outside Neptune and orbiting sun as part of Kuiper belt
Astronomers have discovered a mysterious dwarf planet, which they believe is covered in ice and may sport the wispy remnants of an atmosphere.
The planet, named “Snow White,” lies outside Neptune and is orbiting the sun as part of the Kuiper belt — the ring of icy bodies that orbit the sun beyond Neptune.
Officially known as 2007 OR10, it is actually red. Half of its surface is covered by water ice that probably spewed from ancient cryovolcanoes, researchers said.
It is believed that the planet's reddish hue likely comes from a thin layer of methane, last gasps of an atmosphere that has been bleeding off into space for eons.
“You get to see this nice picture of what once was an active little world with water volcanoes and an atmosphere, and it's now just frozen, dead, with an atmosphere slowly slipping away,” lead scientist Mike Brown of California Institute of Technology said.