As signature subhead reverse@2x
Solar system
Dwarf planet, Haumea

4.5 billion years, about the same age as the Sun


Solar system, Kuiper Belt region

Avg. distance from the Sun

6.43 x 109 km (4.0 x 109 mi); the distance varies because Haumea's orbit around the Sun is elongated. Haumea can be as far as more than 7.6 x 109 km (4.7 x 109 mi) and as near as 5.1 x 109 km (3.2 x 109 mi).


Oddly shaped, but smaller than Pluto; 1,960 km (1,218 miles) across at its longest, but only about half that distance across, 996 km (619 miles), along its shortest axis


4 x 1021 kg (9 x 1021 lbs)

Orbital period around the Sun

285 Earth years (104,025 Earth days)

Number of moons

Two known moons, named Hi'iaka and Namaka

Distinguishing features

Haumea, an oddly-shaped dwarf planet, is the fifth object to attain this designation. It spins rapidly, turning once every four hours, and is believed to be composed mostly of rock with a thin, icy shell and a dark red spot. Astronomers think a collision with a larger body caused the dwarf planet to lose its surface ice, producing the rapid spin. Haumea is named for the Hawaiian goddess of fertility and childbirth. Haumea's moons are named for the goddess' two daughters.

[Left] This Hubble Space Telescope image shows the dwarf planet Haumea and one of its two moons, Hi'iaka. The moon is above Haumea (center). Haumea's second moon, Namaka, is not visible in this image. Note: The faint cross-shaped spikes extending from Haumea are not part of the dwarf planet, but are artifacts produced within the telescope's imaging system. [Right] This artist's conception of the largest known Kuiper Belt objects includes Haumea.

Enlarge Image


"Fast Facts: Dwarf planet, Haumea" is a table that lists Haumea's age, location, average distance from the Sun, diameter, mass, orbital period around the Sun, number of moons, and distinguishing features. The text describes the unusually rapid spin and lack of surface ice. A picture of Haumea and one of its two moons is included.

Printer-friendly web page
Adaptable, at teachers discretion
How to use in the classroom

Use this resource as:

A source of information. Read the table to find out about this object.

A reading activity. Give each student a planet-themed Fast Facts table. Ask students to locate specific object characteristics, such as the number of moons or the diameters of their respective planets.

A large-number recognition and ordering activity. Have students review several planet Fast Fact tables, including this one. Have students read the tables to find each planet's distance from the Sun. Then ask them to arrange the planets according to their distance from the Sun, from closest to farthest. Students also can arrange the planets according to their mass and/or diameter, from smallest to largest.

A unit conversion activity. Have students change the distances in either kilometers or miles into astronomical units. One astronomical unit (AU) is the average distance from Earth to the Sun, which equals 149,600,000 km, or 92,960,000 miles.

A compare/contrast activity. Have students review several Fast Facts tables for planets. Students match the planets to statements that describe a unique feature of each planet, such as: This planet is closest to the sun, or this is the largest known dwarf planet. Either the teacher or the students can generate the statements using information from the Fast Facts. Students also can create graphic organizers comparing the features of planets and dwarf planets.

An inquiry tool. Have students write down questions they would like answered about the image and the information in the Fast Facts table.

An engagement tool. Involve students in a discussion.


Related materials

Amazing Space resources by topic: Solar system

HubbleSite: Press releases on Kuiper Belt Objects