Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Newest Dwarf Planet: Haumea

Astronomy Picture of the Day writes about Haumea of the Outer Solar System. It's now "the fifth designated dwarf planet after Pluto, Ceres, Eris, and Makemake". Has anyone heard a mnemonic to remember them like the "My Very Earnest Mother ..." (or a new of those that eliminates Pluto)? Something better than the acronym CHEMP?

"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." Here's an illustration though its surface features are currently unknown:

haumea_nasa 1.jpg

Here it is in scale with some other Kuiper Belt objects.

"Haumea was recently [named] 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."

I also stumbled across this to scale graphic of moons in wikipedia. I hadn't realized that Mars' moons, Phobos and Deimos were so tiny, with an average diameter of just 22km and 12km respectively.


Shea said...

about the old mnemonic, how 'bout "My Very Excellent MC Just Showed Up Nelly" ?

Howard said...

Maybe it doesn't have that timeless quality?