back to article Say hi to Haumea - our fifth dwarf planet

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has decreed that the object formerly known as 2003 EL61 will henceforth be addressed as "Haumea", and joins Ceres, Eris, Makemake and Pluto in the solar system's league of dwarf planets. The IAU describes trans-Neptunian Haumea as a fast-spinning "bizarre object with a shape …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Tim Cook

    Just in case

    Let me be the first to say that I, for one, welcome our Haumean overlords.

  2. Ken Hagan Gold badge


    Just what is the point of this new terminology? It isn't related to the physics of the object (this one isn't even big enough to pull itself into a round ball and yet they've classed it alongside Pluto) and it isn't user-friendly (since normal people still want to call Pluto a planet), so who's it for?

    If it ain't round, it's a rock. Call it an asteroid if you must, but "planet" is just barking.

  3. James Bassett


    I thought they were called "Plutoids" now anyway?

  4. Anton Ivanov

    Artur Clark was right

    Cigar... Spinning... Fast... Rama... We even have the financial crisis to match its arrival.

  5. Anonymous John


    are they going to name one Pastafaria?

    Mine's the one with the packet of spaghetti in the pocket.

  6. Secretgeek

    'Plump cigar'?

    That's basically a euphesim for 'shaped like a Pluto sized turd' isn't it?

    Mines the one that has Childish on it.

  7. Mike Moyle


    "with a shape resembling a plump cigar", and "'joined in its orbit' by two satellites"...

    They couldn't just call it "Dick"? (Or "Priapus", if they were going the mythological route?)

  8. Anonymous Coward


    Obviously, Eris is the most appropriately named of the 'dwarf planets' as its discovery caused chaos in the established order and prompted the demotion of Pluto to this new category of small planets. All hail Discordia!

  9. Michael

    @ Tim Cook

    This is not slashdot.

  10. Solomon Grundy


    No James, Plutoids are the things that get left behind when you don't wipe properly.

  11. Murray Pearson

    These Hawaiians are crazy!

    'The second is "Namaka", a water spirit who emerged from Haumea's body.'

    Hawaiian is a weird language. I call the water spirit that emerges from my body 'recycled lager'.

  12. Les Matthew
    Thumb Up


    "This is not slashdot."

    -1 Offtopic

  13. Anonymous Coward

    What I want to know is

    How on earth does one say it? Hoe-mee-ah?, How-mee-ah? How-meh-a?, Hore.-me-ah?

    Had no idea that Hawaii and Polynesia was such a major part of the Earth's history, culture and science, compared not only to Europe but Hindu-ism, Buddhism and Money-ism.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Tim Cook

    I think you'd do better to get it right:

    "I, for one, welcome our Haumean overladies".

  15. Tony Hoyle

    This is just the start

    Once you start naming KBOs as 'dwarf planets' where do you end? There are bleedin' millions of them! If they'd just accepted that Pluto wasn't a planet to start with then this mess could have been avoided.

  16. Glen


    +1 insightful

  17. CTG

    @linguistically challenged AC

    How-meh-a is close enough.

  18. Laurel Kornfeld

    We now have 13 planets

    Pluto IS a planet, as are all objects in hydrostatic equilibrium orbiting stars. If Haumea is in hydrostatic equilibrium, then it's a planet of the dwarf planet subcategory. What we really need to pressure the IAU on is reversing its ridiculous definition that dwarf planets are not planets at all. They are planets, just of a different type. That means our solar system now has 13 planets, not eight.

  19. Stevie


    Bits knocked off? That means it hasn't cleared it's own orbit and *that* means it can't be a planet of any sort according to dimwit so-called "scientists" with too much time on their hands and not enough mental oomph to do original real science of their own, who spend entirely too much time telling everyone who'll listen how their betters got it wrong.

    This horn-ear or whatever it's called is clearly a pluto-sized not-a-planet-any-more.

  20. steve-C


    Beat me to it.

    Then again....

    "Arthur Clarke was right" as a headine is like......

    "Schumacher wins"

    "American President makes spectacular cock-up"

    "England score 15 won goals, fans call for manager to be sacked"

    "Water is wet, the sky is blue"

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Name Game

    Why not make it easy for kids (and adults) to learn the frikkin names of these celestial objects by giving them sensible titles? Fuck it. I say scrap all those bollocky names and use something proper (and easier to remember) instead.

    Yeah, Dave would be nice but possibly too corporate seeing as there's already a Channel Dave on telly.

    Looks like there must be millions of so called dwarf planets orbiting the sun out there between Neptune and that large collection of asteroids that I forget the name of, so why name the fucking things at all? I mean, they're just nondescript lumps of rock in the main doing fuck all where nobody goes anyway. Out of sight, out of mind.

  22. TeeCee Gold badge


    If it's a fat cigar shape (used to be called "ovoid" before dumbing-down set in), which diameter is similar to that of Pluto? Longways or fatways?

  23. Anonymous Coward

    @Laurel Kornfeld

    Avast me star loving beauties, surely that would make statelites of planets also planets and asteriods, and KBO or Oort objects as well, we'll just blame Pluto being a planet being a because of miss calculations orignially performed when spotting the object. -Garr

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Let go... Pluto is dead now. I got so fed up with having to teach kids that Pluto is a planet (these things take excessive time to filter into the curriculum) that I quit teaching.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Plump Cigar?

    Nobody tell Clinton....

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Surely the satellites of planet Dave

    should be Dave+1 and Dave+2? All of them covered with enough tarmac to keep Clarkson happy for the rest of his days

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    is a planet.

  28. Adrian Esdaile

    Me discover, me name; IAU get stuffed!

    What the hell happened to naming rights? If Pluto can get named by someone's daughter after a frikkin' Disney character, why can't Eris be called Xena, as was originally proposed, and the moon be Gabrielle? How about Joxer, surely he deserves a go too?

    Who the bloody hell do the IAU think they are, anyway?

  29. Big_Boomer

    Simpler method

    Why don't we just call them all Planets,... or Noggies or Boffles or Things? <LOL>

    Some are icy rocks, some are gasballs, some are warm rocks.

    As for the numbers, once you get rid of the stupid artificial size limits and other stupid distinctions there are millions of them, most in the asteroid belt and the Kuiper belt.

    This is an argument about where you draw the line.

    Wouldn't it be better to stop wasting the time, effort and energy and just get on with the science?

  30. Gareth

    Earth-Sun Distance

    Why not use the correct terminology ie. 1 AU (Astronomical Unit)

  31. William Towle

    Re: Pultoids (sic)

    <quote> I thought they were called "Plutoids" now anyway? </quote>

    Plutoids have to be a given distance from the Sun. So we have four Plutoids and one regular dwarf planet (i.e. Ceres, which is not also a TNO [Trans-Neptunian Object]).

    I'm not sure what the fuss is with this supposedly changing what we have to teach, everyone learns (eventually) that school textbooks are simplified (take Newtonian vs Einsteinian physics, models of the atom, etc). We've known since the 1900s that there were probably more than nine planets, it's just that it's only recently that the IAU has moved things off the classification-pending list of Solar System objects and giving them official planet status.

    It's the pub quiz organisers I feel sorry for.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Adrian Esdaile

    Perhaps because it was named for the God of the Underworld? Otherwise Charon would have been called Goofy.

    Or would this be taking the Mickey?

  33. David Viner Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    We're therefore lobbying the IAU that...

    ...the next dwarf body be dubbed "Dave" and its satellites "Chantelle" and "Chelsea".

    I'm all for it! First a TV channel named after me and now this! Go Reg go!

  34. Tobias Liebhart


    May the cigar-loving overladies be welcometh on our humble planet! We, the middlesized-notdwarfplanet inhabitants are grateful to be enlighted by the mere sight of a stellar tobacco-industry sales campaign!

  35. Martin Lyne

    I was thinking

    just last night playing Spore

    "What would happen if we joined teh galactic community and a race already had a planet called 'Earth'"? [Or something very similar]

    Sol 3?

    Some standardised galactic reference grid? I'm sure other races name thier stars sexier than our "M0343" or whatever (I think M may be galaxies though..)

    We on't have enough words for all this stuff, we're just making it eaier to converse about before it becomes a big issue. Unlike Stargate characters, real people don't find it very easy to remember 8+ digit numbers in reference to it [after hearing it once]

    Makes them easier to find in wikipedia too :)

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Frankly, I'm surprised

    That no one has gone for the obvious:

    Paris, we're after Uranus.

  37. David Stever

    Suessian naming?

    If they named it Suess, or Doctor Suess, then the obvious names for junior and his friend would be Thing 1 and Thing 2. For a cigar shaped body, what was the Niven planet whose poles stuck out of it's atmosphere? Was that Jinx? Maybe one of the moons could be called Bandersnatch...

  38. GrahamT

    To follow the Pluto example

    This one should have been called Mickey, and the two satellites Monty and Fergie.

    If they find a planetoid with three satellites, it should be Donald, with Huey, Dewey and Louis.

  39. Laurel Kornfeld

    Dwarf planets vs. Asteroids

    @Anonymous Coward: There is a clear difference between dwarf planets, which are objects in hydrostatic equilibrium, meaning they have enough self-gravity to pull themselves into a round shape and therefore have geological processes akin to those of planets, and shapeless asteroids, which do not have these processes. Most asteroids and KBOs are not in hydrostatic equilibrium. Moons of planets that have attained this state can be called "secondary planets," as was frequently done in 19th century textbooks. They have all the qualities of planets, but they orbit other planets instead of orbiting the sun directly. There is no scientific reason to artificially limit the number of planets in our solar system. If we have several hundred primary planets (those directly orbiting the sun) and several hundred secondary planets, so be it.

    @ Christopher P. Martin: Pluto is not dead. Reality cannot be changed by dictate of an organization, in this case one composed largely of astronomers who are not even planetary scientists. If teaching Pluto as a planet drove you away from the classroom, then maybe you didn't belong there to begin with. This controversy is being taught as an ongoing debate, not as a matter in which a final decision has been reached. And there is no reason for anyone to "let go" if they genuinely believe the IAU decision was wrong and irreparably flawed.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Laurel Kornfeld

    My throwaway teaching comment was an oversimplification, of course! I, like you, want to encourage debate. That I had to teach Pluto's planet status as a "fact" was the problem. However, I still insist that people need to "let go". It isn't that important. I think anyone who is particularly bothered one way or the other (as you clearly have been for at least two years judging by your extensive livejournal on the topic) should really learn to let go!

    Doesn't matter what you call it, it's still there! You just said so yourself- reality cannot be changed "by dictate", so why do you care what Pluto's called? Stick to your politics. That's a more usual place for passionately expressed semantic debate that fails to change or mean anything.

This topic is closed for new posts.