Many teams have raced to map the outer solar system, specifically the belt of asteroids and debris in the scattered disc known as transneptunian objects, and the discovery of Eris and Dysnomia took several years of searching, two years of analysis with both computers and good old fashioned legwork. The team of Mike Brown, Chad Trujillo, and David Rabinowitz had programmed their computers to rule out objects moving too slowly to count and missed seeing Eris when it was first photographed. Manually pouring over the photos almost a year and a half later, they found the largest (to date) plutoid or dwarf planet. Wanting to name more sky objects after women, internally the team referred to the dwarf planet as Xena, after the popular television series. After a period of several years (and much consensus building) the name Eris was settled on. Eris was the goddess of strife in Greek mythology, the meddling troublemaker who doomed the marriage of Peleus and Thetis, the parents of Achilles, which led to the disastrous war that destroyed both Troy and much of the invading Greek armies. Eris’s own son was named Dysnomia, meaning lawlessness, and when the Hubble Space Telescope discovered that Eris had a moon, well, the name was inevitable. Since the discovery of Eris and Dysnomia, several more plutoids have been discovered, but none yet as large.
Images of Eris and Dysnomia courtesy NASA/Hubble.