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Haumea of the Outer Solar System September 25, 2008

Posted by jtintle in Planets, Space Fotos.
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See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.

Illustration Credit:

NASA

Explanation:

One of the strangest objects in the outer Solar System was classified as a dwarf planet last week and given the name Haumea. This designation makes Haumea the fifth designated dwarf planet after Pluto, Ceres, Eris, and Makemake. Haumea’s smooth but oblong shape make it extremely unusual. Along one direction, Haumea is significantly longer than Pluto, while in another direction Haumea has an extent very similar to Pluto, while in the third direction is much smaller. Haumea’s orbit sometimes brings it closer to the Sun than Pluto, but usually Haumea is further away. Illustrated above, an artist visualizes Haumea as a nearly featureless ellipsoid. Quite possibly, however, Haumea has interesting craters and surface features that currently remain unknown. Originally discovered in 2003 and given the temporary designation of 2003 EL61, Haumea was recently renamed by the IAU for a Hawaiian goddess. Haumea has two small moons discovered in 2005, recently renamed Hi’iaka and Namaka for daughters of the goddess.

Comments

1. Darnell Clayton - September 25, 2008

Man, we sure do live in a strange solar system. I wonder how it ended up with such an “egg” like shape?

2. jtintle - September 27, 2008

Well Darnell, I think it could be a number of reason such as the rotation of the planet, or the make up of the interior of the planet. A number of reason could be possible. Mike Brown one of the people that discovered this planet has his own website, which is currently talking about Haumea. The link is here.


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