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Published on May 28th, 2013 | by Yellow Magpie


Weywot: Dwarf Planet Quaoar’s Moon

Weywot And Dwarf Planet Quaoar Artist Impression By NASA/JPL Caltech R. Hurt SSC/Caltech

Weywot is one of the newest editions to the ever-growing list of moons in our Solar System.  This small satellite may offer evidence of the Kuiper Belt’s violent history.

Weywot was discovered in February 2007 by astronomer Michael Brown of Caltech, California.

Weywot’s Physical Characteristics

Weywot is a very small moon of dwarf planet Quaoar. At just 80 kilometres (50 miles) in width it is one of the smallest known satellites in the Solar System. The moon is thought to be just five percent the size of the dwarf planet.

Weywot orbits Quaoar from an average distance of 14,500 km (14.5 megametres) and takes roughly 12 and a half days to complete its journey around the dwarf planet. Observations indicate that its orbit is highly eccentric. The moon rotates once in just under nine hours.

At this early stage its average surface temperature is not specifically known but it is probably in the region of 30 to 40 degrees Kelvin (minus 240 to 230 degrees Celsius)

The Name Weywot

The moon’s name was chosen by the descendants of the Native American people that originally colonised Los Angeles – the Tongva. They chose the name Weywot after the Tongva sky god who was also the son of Quaoar.

Weywot’s Origins

The discoverer of the moon, Brown, believes that the satellite was formed from the remnants of Weywot’s outer mantle which was probably stripped away in a massive impact.

Highly Recommended Reading

Visit Wikipedia for more information on Weywot.

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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