New dwarf planet named Haumea for Hawaiian goddess

By: AP
By: AP
A newly discovered dwarf planet in the solar system has been given a Hawaiian name: Haumea (how-MAY

** FILE ** A Feb. 25, 2007 file photo shows mission specialists at the ESA European Space Operation Center (ESOC) in Darmstadt, southwestern Germany, operating the Rosetta probe during it's fly-by of planet Mars. European Space Agency ESA scientists are preparing for the first fly-by of an asteroid by their deep-space explorer, Rosetta, on a mission to solve the mystery of the birth of the solar system. Rosetta is set to rendezvous with the Steins asteroid, also known as Asteroid 2867, just before 1900 GMT on Friday, Sept. 5, 2008 at a distance of just less than 500 miles (800 kilometers). (AP Photo/Daniel Roland, File)

HONOLULU (AP) -- A newly discovered dwarf planet in the solar system has been given a Hawaiian name: Haumea (how-MAY'-ah), after the Hawaiian goddess of earth and fertility.

Haumea's name was approved Wednesday by the International Astronomical Union in Paris.

It is the solar system's fifth dwarf planet, in the same category and region as Pluto.

Haumea is shaped like an elongated egg. Astronomers think its shape comes from its rapid rotation, which could have been caused by a collision with another object billions of years ago.

Haumea was discovered in 2005.

The other dwarf planets include Ceres (SIR'-eez), Pluto, Eris (EE'-ris) and Makemake (MAH'-kay MAH'-kay).


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