Pluto, Dwarf Planets, and Kuiper Belt objects

Historic planetary instability and catastrophe. Evidence for electrical scarring on planets and moons. Electrical events in today's solar system. Electric Earth.

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Pluto, Dwarf Planets, and Kuiper Belt objects

Unread postby junglelord » Sun Sep 21, 2008 7:13 am

News Release - IAU0807: IAU names fifth dwarf planet Haumea
Sep 17, 2008, Paris

The International Astronomical Union (the IAU) today announced that the object previously known as 2003 EL61 is to be classified as the fifth dwarf planet in the Solar System and named Haumea.

The decision was made after discussions by members of the International Astronomical Union's Committee on Small Body Nomenclature (CSBN) and the IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN). This now means that the family of dwarf planets in the Solar System is up to five. They are now Ceres, Pluto, Haumea, Eris and Makemake.

The discovery of Haumea was announced in mid-2005, and the object was initially given the provisional designation of 2003 EL61. It is a bizarre object with a shape resembling a plump cigar. Its diameter is approximately the same as that of the dwarf planet Pluto; however, its odd shape means that it is much thinner. It is also known to be spinning very fast, making one rotation in about four hours. Some have suggested that this rapid rotation could be the reason Haumea came to look as it does - the dwarf planet has been drawn out and elongated by its swift spin.

Haumea sits among the trans-Neptunian objects, a vast ring of distant cold and rocky bodies in the outer Solar System. At this moment it is roughly 50 times the Sun-Earth distance from the Sun, but at its closest the elliptical orbit of Haumea brings it 35 times the Sun-Earth distance from our star.

Haumea is the name of the goddess of childbirth and fertility in Hawaiian mythology. The name is particularly apt as the goddess Haumea also represents the element of stone and observations of Haumea hint that, unusually, the dwarf planet is almost entirely composed of rock with a crust of pure ice.

Hawaiian mythology says that the goddess Haumea's children sprang from different parts of her body. The dwarf planet Haumea has a similar history, as it is joined in its orbit by two satellites that are thought to have been created by impacts with it in the past. During these impacts, parts of Haumea's icy surface were blasted off. The debris from these impacts is then thought to have gone onto form the two moons.

After their discovery, in 2005, the moons were also given provisional designations, but have now too been given names by the CSBN and the WGPSN. The first and largest moon is to be called Hi'iaka, after the Hawaiian goddess who is said to have been born from the mouth of Haumea and the matron goddess of the island of Hawai'i. The second moon of Haumea is named Namaka, a water spirit who is said to have been born from Haumea's body.


The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together almost 10,000 distinguished astronomers from all nations of the world. Its mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and the surface features on them. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world's largest professional body for astronomers.
Last edited by nick c on Sat Apr 02, 2011 8:44 am, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: thread title changed / posts merged
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Can this really be due to spinning?

Unread postby Drethon » Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:44 am

It seems a fast rotating object that has a maximum distance across near the size of Pluto has been found. They state it must be cigar shaped because it would be spinning once every two hours if it was round which they say would tear it apart.

Can a cigar shaped object possibly be elongated by spinning? It seems like spinning something to make it expand would always make it circular (see pizza crust or that fast spinning star...).
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Re: Can this really be due to spinning?

Unread postby Lloyd » Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:57 pm

Haumea's diameters are said to be 1218 x 943 x 619 miles. I wouldn't think an object that large could remain elongated, since gravity rounds large objects that are larger than about 200 km in diameter. The article suggests the repeating observation of the object being light then dark then light etc is due to observing apparently the longest side, then the shortest, then the opposite longest side, then the opposite shortest side; so each side takes an hour and all four sides take 4 hours to observe, i.e. it rotates once every 4 hours instead of every 2, so it's not so fast. Most satellites go around the Earth in an hour or two. Since its gravity is said to be .44 m/sec/sec, based on what I don't know, which is 1.4 ft/sec/sec, compared to about 5 ft/sec/sec for the Moon, which is 1/6th Earth's gravity, it may be ice as I think they say. The Moon's diameter is 2160 miles, quite a bit bigger, so it seems Haumea's density might be about the same as the Moon's, and the moon ain't ice.
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Re: Can this really be due to spinning?

Unread postby Heftruck » Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:26 pm

Sound cause they need to use spin, otherwise they can't explain why the object gets brighter and fainter that quickly.
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Haumea Observations

Unread postby flyingcloud » Sat Sep 26, 2009 11:48 am

Don't know where this should go...

curious, regarding opinions concerning the rotation of this object and the obvious "impactor" reference
emphasis mine

Spot Discovered On Dwarf Planet Haumea Shows Up Red And Rich With Organics

ScienceDaily (Sep. 26, 2009) — A dark red area discovered on the dwarf planet Haumea appears to be richer in minerals and organic compounds than the surrounding icy surface
The discovery will be presented at the European Planetary Science Congress in Potsdam by Dr Pedro Lacerda on Wednesday 16 September.

The spot was discovered by measuring changes in its brightness as it rotates. The origin of the spot is unknown, however its “light curve”, which describes variations in its brightness over time, is not exactly the same shape in all wavelengths. Small but persistent differences indicate that the dark spot is slightly redder in visible light and slightly bluer at infrared wavelengths.

“Our very first measurements of Haumea told us there was a spot on the surface. The two brightness maxima and the two minima of the light curve are not exactly equal, as would be expected from a uniform surface. This indicates the presence of a dark spot on the otherwise bright surface. But Haumea’s light curve has told us more and it was only when we got the infrared data that were we able to begin to understand what the spot might be,” said Dr. Pedro Lacerda, Newton Fellow at Queenʼs University Belfast.

Possible interpretations of these measurements are that the spot is richer in minerals and organic compounds, or that it contains a higher fraction of crystalline ice. If the spot is a scar of a recent impact onto Haumea then the spot material might resemble the composition of the impactor, perhaps mixed with material from the inner layers of Haumea.

Haumea orbits the Sun beyond Neptune, in a region known as the Kuiper belt. It is the fourth largest known Kuiper belt object (KBO) after Eris, Pluto and Makemake. These large KBOs, together with main-belt asteroid Ceres, are known as dwarf planets. One of the most surprising characteristics of Haumea is its very fast rotation, with one day lasting only 3.9 Earth hours. No other large object in the solar system spins as fast as Haumea. The rapid spin deforms Haumea into an elongated ellipsoid, 2000 km by 1600 km by 1000 km, whose shape balances gravitational and rotational accelerations. It is believed that Haumea was spun up by a massive impact more than a billion years ago.

Because of its large distance from the Earth, Haumea is visible only as a rather uninformative point of light. Most of what we know about this object was derived from its brightness variations, or “light curve”. Because of its rotation and elongated shape, Haumea brightens and dims periodically as it reflects more and less sunlight. The extent of this variation tells us how elongated Haumea is, and the time between each brightening and dimming is a measure of the rotation period. The precise Haumea shape and spin period imply that it has a density 2.5 times that of water. Since we know from spectroscopic observations that Haumea is covered in water ice, this high density implies Haumea must have a rocky interior, in contrast with its bright icy surface.

New observations of this spot are planned for early 2010 using the ESO Very Large Telescope. “Now we will get detailed spectroscopy of the spot to hopefully identify its chemical composition and solve the puzzle of its origin” Lacerda concluded.
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Active Pluto

Unread postby skelpitheid » Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:35 pm

Seems our frozen little pal Pluto isn't as frozen as it may have been thought: ... 0/06/text/

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Re: Active Pluto

Unread postby popster1 » Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:59 pm

I don't believe any of this. According to the article these "images" are the result of a lot of computer manipulation of images a few pixels wide. To me it looks a lot like an image generated when random noise is fed through the Clouds filter in Photoshop. It took me just a few minutes to replicate the effect:

NASA says they spent four years on it.
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Re: Active Pluto

Unread postby StevenO » Fri Feb 05, 2010 2:30 am

Hilarious! :D

Can you make the clouds orange too?
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Re: Active Pluto

Unread postby StevenJay » Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:34 am

popster1 wrote:According to the article these "images" are the result of a lot of computer manipulation of images a few pixels wide. To me it looks a lot like an image generated when random noise is fed through the Clouds filter in Photoshop.

My thoughts exactly. And it can be further fine-tuned using the air brush tool.

Ya know, based on the caliber of today's typical Church of Science press/propaganda release, I think they would be better suited to more of a graphic novel (comic book) format. Seriously. That way, they would tend to attract the attention of a larger portion of the demographic that they are targeting.

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Re: Active Pluto

Unread postby Osmosis » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:06 am

Wait wait-I see continents, oceans, cities--- :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:
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Re: Active Pluto

Unread postby mharratsc » Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:38 am

I dunno about YOU guys... but I'm quitting my day job to start an 'Official Church of Astronomy' trading card business on Ebay! I will be stinky rich with teh phat lootz! :D
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Re: Active Pluto

Unread postby amzolt » Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:25 pm

popster1 wrote:I don't believe any of this. According to the article these "images" are the result of a lot of computer manipulation of images a few pixels wide. To me it looks a lot like an image generated when random noise is fed through the Clouds filter in Photoshop. It took me just a few minutes to replicate the effect:

NASA says they spent four years on it.

Even though what you say may be true (I'm very down on mainstream-most-anything) it would still be marvelous if, when New Horizons gets to Pluto, they find evidence of significant electrical activity (even if they don't credit electricity for the phenomena)!
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Re: New Dwarf Planet Named

Unread postby nick c » Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:07 pm

This thread is a combination of the following threads:

Can this really be due to spinning?

Haumea Observations

New Dwarf Planet Named
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NEW HORIZONS Pluto-Kuiper Belt Mission

Unread postby jjohnson » Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:22 pm

On March 18th this small but fast spacecraft passed the orbital path of Uranus, which was a quarter of the way farther around the Sun and thus nowhere near in sight. Launched in January, 2006, in 1,844 days it ticked off 1.8 billion (1.8x10^9) miles, nearly 20 AUs, averaging about 976,139 miles or 1,309,122 km per day. 829 Earth diameters every day. 15 km/s. As the NASA site says, it has covered a serious amount of space. Pluto will be reached in 2015.

Perspectives Section
So, how about our chances of travelling to the nearest star system away from us? 1 star away, in our galaxy of somewhere between 100 billion and 200 billion stars (all the rest of which are farther away, of course). How far is it to Alpha Centauri AB (they are a binary pair)? 4.37 light years (ly). Pretty close, on the galactic scale. Next door.

Let's say we could accelerate to the New Horizon's speed, and coast at that velocity all the way to Alpha Cen. We have the information at hand. Distance d = 4.37 ly. 1 ly = 5.8785x10^12 miles. Speed v = 976,139 mi/day.

speed times time = distance, so time = distance ÷ speed: t (days) = (4.37 ly x 5.8785x10^12) ÷ 9.76139 x 10^5

t = (2.5689 x 10^13) ÷ (9.76.. x 10^5) = 27,316995 ...days. Divide that by 365.25 days per year:
t = 72,052 years to our nearest neighboring star. Easy exercise. Daunting answer.

So next time Michio Kaku talks about "if we could send a probe to send back pictures of the black hole" that he tells us lurks at the center of our Galaxy, snacking on stars, think that it is 25,000 to 30,000 light years there, from here, and it would take a large multiple of that figure, in years, to get there by any known means, and an additional 25 to 30 thousand years to radio those JPEGs back.

"Yep," they'll say, "these here pictures definitely show that the event horizon around the black hole is smaller than the resolution of this probe's camera, and we need to get a grant to fund a more sensitive camera on the next one!"
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Pluto Watch

Unread postby seasmith » Mon Jul 14, 2014 6:59 pm

echo planet∞id

New Horizons Only One Year from Pluto ... pluto2015/

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