Remember a neat neat solar complement of a 20th century? As a child of a 1970s, we remember nurse planets, with round orbits punctuated by a occasional asteroid or comet. They contend stupidity is bliss, and a complicated astronomical age of find in a 21st century has given suggested a vast terra incognita in a solar backyard.
We’re articulate about a 99% of a solar complement by volume out over a circuit Neptune, assigned by Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNO), Plutinos (the object, not a drink), Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) and more.
136108 Haumea — one of a strangest worlds of them all — was introduced into a solar complement menagerie about 10 years ago. Discovered by Mike Brown (@Plutokiller extraordinaire) and group in late Dec 2004 from a Palomar Observatory, Haumea (say HOW-meh) perceived a grave name on Sep 17, 2008 along with a dwarf universe designation. Remember, astronomers detected Haumea — like Xena incited Eris — before a array of decisions by a International Astronomical Union in 2006 that led to a Pluto is a planet/is a dwarf planet/ is a Plutoid drum coaster ride.
You’ve come a prolonged way, small ice world, as New Horizons has finally given us a perspective of Pluto and friends only this past summer. Thankfully, many of us weren’t on Twitter nonetheless behind in 2006… heck, we can even review a weird essay by Universe Today from around a time of Eris and Haumea’s find (really: we’ve been around that long!)
It wasn’t prolonged before Brown and group satisfied they had a weird find on their hands, as good as a slow controversy. First, a group from a Sierra Nevada Observatory in Spain attempted to dip a Palomar group concerning a discovery. It was after schooled that a Sierra Nevada group was accessing a Caltech logs remotely, and looking during where a telescopes were sport in a sky, and during what times. Though a Spanish group after conceded accessing a regard logs, they confirmed that they were double-checking progressing observations of a theme intent from 2003. Wherever we mount on a find hullabaloo, Mike Brown goes into abyss on a complicated astronomical debate in his book How we Killed Pluto and Why it Had it Coming.
Haumea primarily warranted a nickname ‘Santa Claus’ due to a find nearby a Christmas holiday. Haumea derives a grave name from a Hawaiian enchantress of childbirth. Likewise, a reindeer desirous moons Rudolph and Blitzen were after named Hi’aka and Namaka after daughters of Haumea in a Hawaiian pantheon. Brown during group detected both moons shortly after Haumea itself.
A Bizarre World
The Bizzaro homeworld of Superman mythos has zero on Haumea. OK, maybe it’s not a ideal brick — remember, nothing’s ideal on a Bizzaro universe possibly — yet it does have a decidedly oblate egg shape. Haumea is a quick rotator, with a ‘day’ equal to about 4 hours. We know this due to periodic changes in brightness. Haumea also has a high albedo of about 80%, identical to creatively depressed snow.
Models advise that Haumea is about twice as prolonged as it is wide, with measure of 2,000 kilometres along a prolonged axis, contra 1,000 kilometres by a poles. The participation of dual little moons allows us to guess a mass during about 33% of Pluto, and 6% that of Earth’s Moon. With such a quick rotation, Haumea contingency only be hardly progressing hydrostatic equilibrium, yet it’s stretching a universe to a max.
Evidence of an ancient collision, perhaps? It would be fascinating to see Haumea adult close. Like Pluto, however, it’s distant, with an aphelion nearby 51.5 AU and a perihelion nearby 35 AU. Orbiting a Sun once each 284 years, Haumea only upheld aphelion in 1992 about a decade before to discovery, and maybe a time to send a New Horizons-type goal past it would be nearby perihelion in 2134. Interestingly, Haumea is also in a nearby 7:12 inflection with Neptune, definition it completes 7 orbits around a Sun to Neptune’s 12.
A Swift Sky
Astronomy from Haumea is literally dizzying to contemplate. First, ready yourself for that 4 hour day: we would simply see a revolution of a sky — to a balance of an intent rising and reaching a culmination in only an hour — relocating in genuine time. Then there’s a dual moons Namaka and Hi’iaka, in 18 and 50 day orbits, respectively… both would uncover distinct discs and phases pleasantness of a Sun, that would now benefaction a 38” hoop resplendent during bulk -18 (still about 100 times brighter than a Full Moon). Looking for Earth? It’s an easy locate during bulk +4.8 yet never strays some-more than 1 grade from a Sun, twice a hole of a Full Moon.
Haumea now shines during bulk +17 in a constellation Boötes. Theoretically, it’s within a squeeze of a vast pledge telescope, yet to a knowledge, no backyard spectator has ever conduct to seize it… maybe this will change over a subsequent century or so towards perihelion?
Scratch that… we’ve given schooled that Mike Weasner did indeed seize Haumea in 2013 from his backyard Cassiopeia look-out nearby Oracle, Arizona:
The find of Haumea and friends is a fascinating story of complicated astronomy, and shows us only how weird a dauntless new worlds of a outdoor solar complement are. Perhaps one day, tellurian eyes will gawk during a weird skies of Haumea… yet gripping a telescope tracking competence be a loyal challenge!
Source: Universe Today, created by David Dickinson