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IAU Names Fifth Dwarf Planet Haumea 94

Kligat writes "The International Astronomical Union has renamed the dwarf planet Haumea and its two moons Hi'iaka and Namaka, after the Hawaiian fertility goddess, the patron goddess of Hawaii, and a water spirit. The cigar-shaped body is speculated to have resulted from its short rotational period of only four hours. Holding up the reclassification of the body as a dwarf planet was a dispute over its discovery between the groups of José Luis Ortiz Moreno and Michael E. Brown."
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IAU Names Fifth Dwarf Planet Haumea

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  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @09:35AM (#25053841) Journal

    Wait, it's "cigar-shaped" and they're naming it after a fertility _Goddess_? Something's not right here.

    • by BPPG ( 1181851 ) <> on Thursday September 18, 2008 @09:44AM (#25053949)

      Sometimes a cigar-shaped dwarf planet is just a cigar-shaped dwarf planet.

    • Came in here for the cigar-shaped jokes, am not leaving disappointed.
      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        A++++ Would read again.

    • That's why I tagged the story "justacigar".

      • by rk ( 6314 ) *

        How many Freudians does it take to change a light bulb?

        Two. One to switch the bulb and the other to hold the penis.

    • Look at the linked Wikipedia page -- it's definitely egg shaped. Was someone trying to see something that wasn't there?
    • by syousef ( 465911 )

      Wait, it's "cigar-shaped" and they're naming it after a fertility _Goddess_? Something's not right here.

      This is what bothers you most? By the IAU's definition a dwarf planet is not a planet, and a planet that doesn't orbit our own star is not a planet. I've got a masters in Astronomy (never used it professionally and never intended to, did the degree for my own learning). I have no time for the IAU's nonsense. It's a good example of how politics in science leads to nonsense in science.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 18, 2008 @09:36AM (#25053861)

    Ok, great victory for believers in Hawaiian mythology. I'm waiting for the day when they finally run out of religious mythologies and have to allow names like Xena for real. Although there are so many religions around that by that time Xena will probably be seen as an ancient mythological figure.

    • by RiotingPacifist ( 1228016 ) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @09:41AM (#25053919)

      im waiting for a funny shaped cluster to be named the flying spaghetti monster, ramen

    • Think Xenu will ever make the cut? Let's hope Tom Cruise doesn't take up astronomy.
    • that time Xena will probably be seen as an ancient mythological figure.

      But, of fertility or castration?

    • by ABoerma ( 941672 )

      I wonder which they'll allow first when they run out of 'old' pantheons: planet Xena or planet Jesus. No troll intended, just wondering.

    • If they're going to call them dwarf planets, they should name them after dwarves.

      Probably some of the dwarves in Norse mythology have names? But certainly there's all the Tolkein dwarves, and the Disney dwarfs.

    • This is getting complicated. Before Pluto got demoted our 3rd graders only had to remember earth plus 8 stereotypical Roman gods. Now we've got Hawaiin fertility goddesses, Pacific islander super-deities, Eskimo ice-queens, and TV warrior princesses. Curse they IAU! When will the insanity stop?

      Obviously something has to be done. Our preconceived notions about the solar system are collapsing around us. There is only one logical response:

      It'll have to go.

      Blow everything up except the sun, the origina
  • by owlstead ( 636356 ) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @10:00AM (#25054181)

    "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)"

    Surprisingly interesting names, but should bodies that name themselves CSBN and WGPSN really be in charge of naming other bodies?

    • Well, the first could kind of be pronounced 'Caspian', and the second one.. err.. we got PlayStation Network?

  • Fitting name for an invisible planet: Named after a fertility goddess...yet geeks will only ever know her through pictures on the web.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I beg to differ! My wife gave birth to our first kid! And...wait a minute? I just realized that I was too busy with WoW to consumate...but... ...Darnit! It's a good thing she isn't home right now, or I would tell her what I think. Why is she always gone most of the day? And the night?

      It's Thursday, so she should be swinging by for her check soon. While I'm waiting for her, I could try for another level or two. But first, let me refill my snacks!

      Need more Red Bull...

  • In Dutch... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Arrawa ( 681474 ) on Thursday September 18, 2008 @10:19AM (#25054533)
    Haumea is the pronunciation of homo which means gay. This kind of spelling is often used at a hugely popular blog called
    • by ABoerma ( 941672 )

      Yeah, I kind of expect to have a topic on this within a day or so.

    • by aapold ( 753705 )
      Thankfully none of the planets or planetoids have embarrassing pronunciations in english.
      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by 4D6963 ( 933028 )
        Yeah, although that would be awkward if asteroid Haumea/Homo approached Uranus.
    • Unless you have a serious speaking disorder, Haumea is not pronounced like "homo" in Dutch.

      The "au" in Haumea is pronounced like the "ow" in "how", and the "ea" are pronouced seperately.

      The "o"'s in "homo" are just "o"'s like in "homo sapiens".

      It actually sounds exactly like it would sound in Hawaiian. Dutch and Hawaiian phonology are rather similar (unlike Dutch and English). Pronouncing it like "homo" would just mean you're doing it wrong in both languages.

      Nothing to see here, please move along...

      • by Arrawa ( 681474 )
        Partly true. If you would pronounce it in standard Dutch, you are right that the o is pronounced differently. But this if you pronounce it the 'geenstijl'-way, you would sound very cocky and gay...
  • I thought the definition of a Dwarf Planet was that it was big enough to be rounded by its own gravity, but not big enough to have swept its orbit clear of other debris?

    If it is indeed cigar shape, it would appear to fail the first of these criteria.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bunratty ( 545641 )
      Haumea is cigar-shaped because it is rounded by gravity and stretched by rotation. That is different from being a rigid, irregularly shaped object that resembles a cigar.
      • Perhaps she needs a bra?
      • Haumea is cigar-shaped because it is rounded by gravity and stretched by rotation.

        If that were so, it should be disk-shaped, not cigar-shaped.

        • Don't ask me to explain it. I'm merely repeating what astronomers have said, which clarifies why it's considered rounded by gravity and yet also cigar-shaped.
      • How does rotation stretch it to a cigar shape? Shouldn't it make more like a thick pancake?
        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Some kind of major disturbance, I would guess.

          For comparison, an ideal water balloon is spherical, but when you spin them they tend to become elongated in the same manner as Haumea, rather than like a frisbee.
  • I followed the link to the picture.

    Didn't *anyone* realize that it's a giant egg? And when it hatches, it's going to come in-system for food?

                  mark "it's hatching...arrrrghghghghghghhh....."

  • Not Hiigara?

  • "IAU Names Fifth Dwarf Planet Haumea"

    Ah, so now it goes: Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Planet Haumea, Dopey, and Doc?

  • It doesn't seem accurate to me to call it "cigar-shaped". If the shape is due to its rotation (which is implied by the Brown et al paper linked from the article), then it would have an oblate spheroid shape like the Earth. I.e., more of a hamburger shape than cigar. It seems a shame to ruin all these Freudian jokes, but facts are facts.

  • It's not a dwarf planet, it's a Plutoid []. Give #9 a little respect people.

  • Internet fame awaits the first fat guy with a webcam who posts a "Haumea-Haumea" video to YouTube.

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"