Why isn't N2o3 linear?

2018-06-24 16:12:07

The $N_2O_5$ molecule is shown to be branched, as so:

Here, the formal charge of the left-most $N$ atom is $1$, and the formal charge of the bottom-left $O$ atom is $-1$. However, a linear structure such as $O=N-O-N=O$ has all atoms having a formal charge of 0.

Why is the above structure more preferable than the linear structure, even though the formal charge is non-zero in the branched structure?