Haumea (2003 EL61)
Haumea was discovered by a team from the California Institute of Technology consisting of Michael E. Brown, Chad Trujillo, and David Rabinowitz who had been observing the object for half a year with the 1.3-meter SMARTS Telescope. The discovery was made on Dec. 28, 2004 and announced in 2005. In September 2008, Haumea was named by the International Astronomical Union, after the goddess of childbirth and fertility in Hawaiian mythology.
The moons of HaumeaTwo satellites have been found in orbit around Haumea. Both were discovered in 2005 and are of substantial size.
S/2005 (2003 EL61) 1 was the first of 2003 EL61's moons to be found. It has been nicknamed "Rudolph" by the Caltech team which discovered it. It orbits 2003 EL61 once every 49 days at a distance of about 49,500 km, with an eccentricity of 0.050 and an inclination of 235°. Its measured brightness suggests a diameter of about 350 km, assuming it has a similar brightness to the primary. This would make it larger than all but four of the asteroids (1 Ceres, 2 Pallas, 4 Vesta, and 10 Hygiea) in the main asteroid belt.
S/2005 (2003 EL61) 2 is the smaller and inner moon of 2003 EL61 at a distance of about 39,000 km from the primary. The orbital period is 34 days and the inclination 39±6° from the larger moon. Its diameter has been estimated at about 170 km.
Related category• NOTABLE ASTEROIDS, CENTAURS, AND KUIPER BELT OBJECTS
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