Eris was originally discovered on January 5, 2005, by a team led by Mike Brown. The original photographs were taken in 2003, but the object was not identified until 2 years later. It was given the provisional name of 2003 UB313. Subsequent observations revealed a moon in October 2005, which was named Dysnomia two years later. Eris was one of the originally classified dwarf planets by the International Astronomical Union in 2006.

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