Published on May 21st, 2013 | by Yellow Magpie1
Namaka: Moon Of Dwarf Planet Haumea
Namaka Moon Of Dwarf Planet Haumea (Top Of Picture) Artist Impression By NASA
Namaka is the smallest of the dwarf planet Haumea’s two known moons. It was discovered in June, 2006, by Michael Brown, David Rabinowitz and Chad Trujillo at the Keck observatory in Hawaii.
Namaka’s Physical Characteristics
Namaka orbits the dwarf planet Haumea at a distance of 25,600 kilometres (16,000 miles). It takes 18 Earth-days for the moon to complete one orbit around the dwarf planet. At a width of 170 kilometres (105 miles), Namaka is one of the smallest moons in the Solar System. It is just 0.05 per cent or one/two thousandth the mass of Haumea.
Namaka is much colder than Haumea at an extremely frosty 32 degrees Kelvin (minus 240 degrees Celsius).
The Name Namaka
Namaka was temporarily titled Blitzen. However, it was officially named Namaka after the daughter of the Hawaiian goddess of fertility and childbirth, Haumea. Namaka is the Hawaiian goddess of the water and sea.
Unlike the dispute surrounding the dwarf planet Haumea there was no controversy over Namaka’s discovery.
Origins Of Namaka
The moon Namaka is thought to have formed from a large impact between Haumea and another large object. It is believed that originally the dwarf planet was over 1,600 metres (just over 1,000 miles) in width. After the collision Haumea lost 20 per cent of its mass. Both Namaka and its sister moon Hi’iaka are thought to be remnants of the original impact.
Highly Recommended Reading
Visit Wikipedia for more information on Namaka.
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.