Orcus
Number
90482
Provisional name
2004 DW
Class
Plutino
Discovery date
17.02.2004
Discovery chart
Discovery position
24 Leo 53' Rx
Time of announcement
19.02.2004 - 0:45 UT
Orbital period
246.4 years
Orbit
  • crosses the orbit of Pluto
Aphelion
48.051 AU
Perihelion
30.323 AU
Semimajor axis
39.187 AU
Magnitude
2.3
Diameter
654 - 2100 km

 
Orcus is known to be a binary system.

Photograph copyright © Eric Francis. All rights reserved.
Digital photo by Eric Francis. Planet Waves Picture Galleries

Satellite
Vanth
S/2005 (90482) 1
Discovery
13.11.2005
Time of announcement
22.02.2007
Naming
On March 23, 2009, Mike Brown asked readers of his blog to suggest possible names for the satellite, with the best one to be submitted to the International Astronomical Union (IAU). The name Vanth was suggested by Sonya Taaffe.

Mythology
The origins of Orcus may have lain in Etruscan religion. Orcus was the Roman god of death, the counterpart of the Greek Pluto. Orcus was a punisher of broken oaths. Like the name Hades, "Orcus" could also mean the land of the dead.

Orcus

J. R. R. Tolkien used the word Orcus for the name of the monstrous orc in his Lord of the Rings trilogy. David Day describes in "A Tolkien Bestiary" that orcs were ugly creatures, who were afraid of light and were comfortable in dirty holes and underworld caves.

Vanth is a daimon in Etruscan mythology who guides the dead to the underworld. She often appears on tomb paintings and sarcophagi where she is depicted with wings and a torch, and she is frequently shown in the presence of Charun, a guard of the underworld.