Project Proxima

A trip to Proxima Centauri @proximaspace

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Haumea, is a dwarf planet located beyond Neptune's orbit. It was discovered in 2004 by a team headed by Mike Brown of Caltech at the Palomar Observatory in the United States and independently in 2005 at the Sierra Nevada Observatory in Spain, though the latter claim has been contested. On September 17, 2008, it was recognized as a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and named after Haumea, the Hawaiian goddess of childbirth.

Haumea's mass is about one-third that of Pluto, and 1/1400 that of Earth. Although its shape has not been directly observed, calculations from its light curve suggest it is an ellipsoid, with its major axis twice as long as its minor. Nonetheless, its gravity is believed sufficient for it to have relaxed into hydrostatic equilibrium, making it a dwarf planet. This elongation, along with its unusually rapid rotation, high density, and high albedo (from a surface of crystalline water ice), are thought to be the results of a giant collision, which left Haumea the largest member of a collisional family that includes several large trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) and its two known moons, Hi'iaka and Namaka. Its extreme elongation makes it unique among known dwarf planets.