20000 Varuna facts for kids

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20000 Varuna
Artist's idea of what Varuna may look like

Artist's idea of what Varuna may look like
Discovery
Discovered by R. McMillan (Spacewatch)
Discovery date 28 November 2000
Names
Name 20000 Varuna
Other names 2000 WR106
Category TNO (cubewano)
Orbit
Reference date 14 July 2004 (JD 2453200.5)
Longest distance from the Sun 6 781.985 Gm (45.335 AU)
Shortest distance from the Sun 6 120.810 Gm (40.915 AU)
Longest distance from the center of its orbital path
("semi-major axis")
6 451.398 Gm (43.129 AU)
How long it takes to complete an orbit 103 440.6 d (283.20 a)
Average speed 4.53 km/s
Mean anomaly 89.673°
Angle above the reference plane
("inclination")
17.2°
Size and other qualities
Measurements

800 km (avg of thermals)

(scalene ellipsoid)?
Mass ≈3.7×1020? kg
Average density 0.992 g/cm³
Surface gravity 0.15 m/s²
Escape velocity 0.39 km/s
How much light it reflects 0.037–0.26
Avg. surface temp. ≈43–41 K
Spectral type (moderately red) B-V=0.93 V-R=0.64
Seeming brightness
("apparent magnitude")
19.9 (opposition)
True brightness
("absolute magnitude")
3.7

20000 Varuna is a big Kuiper belt object (KBO) and could be a dwarf planet. Before it was named Varuna, it had the provisional designation 2000 WR106.

Varuna is named after the Hindu deity Varuṇa.

Physical characteristics

Varuna completes one rotation in about 3.17 hours (or 6.34 hours, depending on whether the light curve is single or double-peaked). Given the fast rotation, which is not common for objects so big, Varuna is thought to be a stretched spheroid, with a density around 1g/cm³ (close to the density of water).

The surface of Varuna is somewhat red and small amounts of water ice have been found on its surface.


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