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Published on May 21st, 2013 | by Yellow Magpie


Hi’iaka: The Moon Of Dwarf Planet Haumea

Hi’aka Moon Of Dwarf Planet Haumea (Bottom Of Picture) Artist Impression By NASA

Hi’aka is the largest of dwarf planet Haumea’s known moons. The moon was discovered by the Caltech trio of Michael Brown, David Rabinowitz and Chad Trujillo. Hi’iaka was found in January, 2005, using the Keck Observatory in Mauna Kea, Hawaii. 

Physical Characteristics of Hi’iaka

Hi’iaka is roughly 300 kilometres (120 miles) in width. The moon orbits dwarf planet Haumea at a distance of just under 50,000 kilometres (31,000 miles) taking just over 49 Earth-days to do so. As of yet we still don’t know how long a day lasts on the moon.

It is mind-numbingly cold on Hi’iaka’s surface with a temperature of just 32 degrees Kelvin (minus 240 degrees Celsius). These are low-enough temperatures for superconductivity to occur.

Hi'iaka And Haumea Along With Other Kuiper Belt Objects Photo By Lexicon Creative Commons ShareAlike Licence

The Name Hi’iaka

Hi’iaka was temporarily named Rudolph before the title Hi’iaka was formally chosen. Hi’iaka is the Hawaiian goddess of dance. The name is particularly apt as Hi’iaka is the daughter of the Hawaiian goddess Haumea. Hi’iaka is also the patron goddess of the island where the Keck observatory is based.

Origins Of Hi’iaka

Hi’iaka is thought to have originated from a colossal impact between Haumea and another large object. Originally the dwarf planet was thought to be 1,600 kilometres (1,000 miles) in width before a massive impact resulted in its losing much of its icy mantle and one fifth of its total mass.

Hi’iaka and her sister moon, Namaka were born from the remnants of this impact which occurred in the early days of the Solar System.

Highly Recommended Reading

Visit Wikipedia for more information on Hi’iaka.

Check out Yellow Magpie’s The Kuiper Belt: Home To The Dwarf Planets for more insight into this fascinating region of the Solar System.

You may also wish to take a gander at The Solar System And Beyond: A Guide To The Cosmos.

Cosmos is a highly recommended book. It contains large, full-page pictures of the asteroids and writing on the subject by the highly competent author, Giles Sparrow.
For people living in Ireland or the United Kingdom, you can access: Cosmos from here.
For those who live in Canada, you can obtain: Cosmos here.
For Germany: Cosmos.
For France: Cosmos.

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