|Discovery date 9 October 1996|
Alternative names none
Observation arc 5883 days (16.11 yr)
|MPC designation (15874) 1996 TL66|
Minor planet category Scattered disc
Discovered 9 October 1996
Argument of perihelion 184.79°
Discovery site Mauna Kea Observatories
|Discovered by David C. JewittJane X. LuuJun ChenC. A. Trujillo|
Discoverers Jane Luu, Chad Trujillo, David C. Jewitt, Jun Chen
Similar Chad Trujillo discoveries, Other celestial objects
15874 1996 tl66
(15874) 1996 TL66 (also written (15874) 1996 TL66) is a trans-Neptunian object (TNO) that resides in the scattered disc. The Spitzer Space Telescope has estimated this object to be about 575 kilometres (357 mi) in diameter, but 2012 estimates from the Herschel Space Observatory estimate the diameter as closer to 339 kilometres (211 mi). It is not a detached object, since its perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) is under the influence of Neptune. Light-curve-amplitude analysis suggests that it is a spheroid. Tancredi presents "in the form of a decision tree, the set of questions to be considered in order to classify an object as an icy 'dwarf planet'." They find that (15874) 1996 TL66 is very probably a dwarf planet. Mike Brown's website, using a radiometrically determined diameter of 344 kilometres (214 mi), lists it as a possible dwarf planet.
Discovered in 1996 by David C. Jewitt et al., it was the first object to be categorized as a scattered-disk object (SDO), although (48639) 1995 TL8, discovered a year earlier, was later recognised as a scattered-disk object. It was one of the largest known trans-Neptunian objects at the time of the discovery. It came to perihelion in 2001.
Orbit and size
(15874) 1996 TL66 orbits the Sun with a semi-major axis of 83.9 AU but is currently only 35 AU from the Sun with an apparent magnitude of 21. In 2007, the Spitzer Space Telescope estimated it to have a low albedo with a diameter of about 7005575000000000000♠575±115 km. More-recent measurements in 2012 by the 'TNOs are Cool' research project and reanalysis of older data have resulted in a new estimate of these figures. It is now assumed that it has a higher albedo and the diameter was revised downward to 7005339000000000000♠339±20 km. Light-curve-amplitude analysis shows only small deviations, suggesting (15874) 1996 TL66 is a spheroid with small albedo spots and may be a dwarf planet.