Whatever one's stance on the "demotion" of Pluto from planet to dwarf planet, the controversy has helped to make the public better aware that the solar system is populated with a lot more than the planets, their satellites, and the occasional comet or meteorite. The solar system is scattered with many smaller objects large enough to be tracked and numbered and sometimes named. Each category of object has its particular properties and stories to tell. Molecules have been identified on a number of these objects, and this bibliography has been expanded accordingly.

This is intended to be a representative but not exhaustive listing of planetoids with known molecules. For a descriptions of what's out there, see the Wikipedia articles on minor planets and Trans-Neptunian Objects. For more technical information, visit the Minor Planet Center. For a reasoned take on the Pluto controversy, I suggest the short article by David Jewitt and Jane Luu that can be accessed here.


OBJECT MOLECULES
(click for citations)
DISCOVERY CITATION NEWS
LINK
ASTEROIDS
24 Themis H2O  organics
ref1   ref2
Elemente und Ephemeride der Themis
Astron. Nachr. 36, 341 (1853)
(Themis was discovered by Annibale de Gasparis.)
CENTAURS
Pholus
(5145)
CH3OH   H2O   organics   olivine 1992 AD
J. V. Scotti, D. L. Rabinowitz, and 11 co-workers, IAU Circ. 5434 (1992)
 
Chariklo
(10199)
H2O 1997 CU26
J. V. Scotti et al. (?)
 
SCATTERED DISK OBJECTS
Typhon
(42355)
H2O   silicates Discovery of a binary Centaur
K. S. Noll, H. F. Levinson, W. M. Grundy, and D. C. Stephens, Icarus 184:611-618 (2006)
 
TRANS-NEPTUNIAN OBJECTS: KUIPER BELT OBJECTS
Pluto
(134340)
CH4   N2   CO   HCN Bulletin Number 421 - Preliminary results and ephemeris of the Lowell Observatory Object
E. C. Bower and F. L. Whipple, Lick Obs Bull 14:189-191 (1930)
Quaoar
(50000)
H2O   CH4   C2H6
N2?
Direct Measurement of the Size of the Large Kuiper Belt Object (50000) Quaoar
M. E. Brown and C. A. Trujillo, AJ 127:2413-2417 (2004)
Orcus
(90482)
H2O   unk carbonaceous MPEC 2009-E53
M. E. Brown, D. L. Rabinowitz, C. A. Trujillo, R. Matson, M. Meyer, and R. Stoss
Eris
(136199)
CH4   H2O   N2   unk carbonaceous Discovery of a Planetary-sized Object in the Scattered Kuiper Belt
M. E. Brown, C. A. Trujillo, and D. L. Rabinowitz, ApJ 635:L97-L100 (2005)
 
Makemake
(136472)
CH4   C2H6 MPEC 2005-O42
M. E. Brown, C. A. Trujillo, and D. L. Rabinowitz
Haumea
(136108)
H2O MPEC 2010-H75
M. E. Brown, C. A. Trujillo, and D. L. Rabinowitz
1999 TC36
(47171)
H2O   Tholins MPEC 1999-Y19
E. P. Rubenstein and L.-G. Strolger
2007 OR10
(225088)
H2O   CH4? MPEC 2009-A42
M. E. Schwamb, M. E. Brown, and D. Rabinowitz
Varuna
(20000)
H2O   20000 Varuna (2000 WR106)
M. E. Browm, C. Trujillo, and D. Rabinowitz. ApJ 617:645-649 (2004).
 
Sedna
(90377)
H2O   CH4   N2   C2H6
tholins  serpentine  
Discovery of a Candidate Inner Oort Cloud Planetoid
M. E. Browm, C. Trujillo, and D. Rabinowitz. ApJ 617:645-649 (2004).
 


Maintained by DE Woon
Updated 1 June 2017