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The Haumea- A Fast Spinning Dwarf Planet

The Haumea is the dwarf planet orbits beyond the Neptune’s orbit. It is the fastest spinning oval shaped object in the solar system and third brightest object in Ktiper belt. The Haumea was discovered on 28 December 2004 by team of Mike brown and in 2005 by team of Ortize Moreno but letter discovery was contested. It was officially announced a dwarf planet in 2008.

Properties of Haumea

  • The Haumea was discovered by Mike Brown in December 2004.
  • The Haumea was declared as dwarf planet by International Astronomical Union in 2008.
  • It was named from goddess of childbirth and two moons of Haumea were named from its daughter’s name Hi’iaka and Namaka.
  • Mike Brown and his team has been given nickname “ Santa” as it was discovered after Chistmas.
  • One day on the Haumea is about 4 hours and one year is equal to 284 Earth’s years.
  • The orbital eccentricity is 0.19489 and orbital inclination is 28o to elliptical pane.
  • It is third brightest body in kuiper belt region.
  • It is made of rock with ice covered the surface.
  • Surface is covered with crystalline water ice having temperature is below -241o C.
  • It is first dwarf planet which has ring system.
  • The Haumea has two moons Hi’iaka and Namaka.


The Haumea is the member of Kuiper belt beyond the orbit of Neptune. It is called Trans-Neptunian object or plutoids. The Haumea and other members of Kuiper belt were formed before 4.5 billion years ago when solar system was formed. Before billion years ago, large body may have been collided and removed icy mantle. Due to collision it got higher spin and about 20% of mass separated from it which become moons.

Orbit and Rotation

The Haumea is the fastest spinning object other than any equilibrium body in solar system. One day on Haumea is about 4 hours. Its fastest speed is unnatural and believed that it was due to the collision which was done before billion years ago. The Haumea is the third brightest body than Pluto and Makemake in Kuiper belt region.

One rotation around the Sun takes 284 Earth’s years. The farthest distance (Aphelion) from is 51.59 AU and closest distance (Perihelion) is 34.76 AU. Its average orbital speed is 4.531 km/s. The orbital eccentricity is 0.19489 which is highest than any other body of collisional family. The orbital inclination is 28o with elliptical plane.

Structure and Surface

Rapid spin of Haumea keeps it from attending spheroid shape. The length at the longest end is about 2300 km while at shortest end is 996 km. Due to rapid spinning it is difficult to measure its dimensions but approximately dimensions are 2000 X 1500 X 1000 km. The density of it is 2.018 gm/ cm3. Haumea’s possible density suggests that is the rocky object covered with thin layer of ice. The surface of Haumea is as bright as snow and about 60% – 80 % is made of crystalline water ice with small amount of hydrogen cyanide and phyllosilicate clays.

            The spectras taken by Gemini and Keck telescopes shows that surface of Haumea has strong crystalline water ices like Charon. It is abnormal due to crystalline ice formed above the temperature 100K while temperature on Haumea is below 50K. Structure of crystalline ice is unstable because of rain of cosmic rays and energetic particles from the Sun.

Ring of Haumea

The Haumea is the first dwarf planet with ring system in kuiper belt region. Presence of ring around the Haumea was discovered on 21 January 2017 and published in Nature article on 11 October 2017. The ring has a radius of 2287 km and width of 70 km with opacity of 0.5. The ring’s plane is coincided with the plane of equator of Haumea and orbital plane of larger moon Hi’iaka. Ring particles are in 3:1 resonance with rotation of Haumea.

Moons of Haumea

The Haumea has two moons or natural satellites which were formed by collision before billion years before. Two moons are Hi’iaka and Namaka were discovered in 2005 by Darin Ragozzine and Micheal Brown.

Outer moon Hi’iaka was discovered in January 26 2005 have nicknamed “Rudolph”. It is brighter than Namaka and about 310 km in diameter and surface is covered with pure crystalline water ice layer. Hi’iaka orbits the Haumea nearly circular path in 49 days.

Inner moon Namaka was discovered in June 30 2005 have nicknamed “Blitzen” with tenth of the mass of Hi’iaka. It orbits the Haumea in 18 days in highly elliptical pane with 13o inclination.

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Authored by BK Suthar.
This site is about various topics of astronomical and geographical things which present in universe and also surrounding us. It will give you information about various planets, incidents occurs in universe and also about nature.

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