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Haumea (dwarf planet)




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An artist's illustration of Haumea with its moons Hiʻiaka and Namaka. The moons are actually farther away from Haumea than pictured here.

Haumea is a dwarf planet in the Solar System. Its discovery was announced in 2005 by astronomers Michael E. Brown, Chad Trujillo and David Rabinowitz of the United States, and J. L. Ortiz of Spain. It was classified as a dwarf planet on September 17, 2008.[1] Haumea is a Trans-Neptunian object, because it orbits the Sun after Neptune. It has two known moons, Hiʻiaka and Namaka. Haumea is special because of its very short day and odd shape. It turns once on its axis every four hours. This quick turning has caused Haumea to be shaped like an ellipsoid. It was the fifth discovered dwarf planet.[2]

Name

The object was originally nicknamed 'Santa' as it was discovered shortly after Christmas. In 2008, the International Astronomical Union gave it the proper name Haumea, after a Hawaiian god of childbirth and fertility.[2]

References

  1. "Naming of astronomical objects: Minor planets". International Astronomical Union. http://www.iau.org/public_press/themes/naming/#minorplanets. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Mike Brown (2008). "Haumea". CalTech. http://web.gps.caltech.edu/~mbrown/2003EL61/. Retrieved 2008-09-18.

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