Haumea family

The Haumea or Haumean family is the only identified trans-Neptunian collisional family; that is, the only group of trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) with similar orbital parameters and spectra (nearly pure water-ice) that suggest they originated in the disruptive impact of a progenitor body.[1] Calculations indicate that it is probably the only trans-Neptunian collisional family.[2] Members are known as Haumeids.

The collisional family of Haumea (in green), other classical KBO (blue), Plutinos and other resonant objects (red) and SDO (grey). Radius is semi-major axis, angle orbital inclination.


Brightest Haumea-family members:
Object (H) Diameter
Haumea 0.2 1,460 km 0.33
2002 TX300 3.4 332 km 0.36
2003 OP32 3.9 276 km 0.39
2005 RR43 4.1 252 km 0.41
2009 YE7 4.5 200 km
1995 SM55 4.6 191 km 0.39
2005 CB79 4.7 182 km 0.37
1996 TO66 4.8 174 km 0.39


Orbits of Haumea family members, sharing semimajor axes around 43 AU, and inclinations around 27°.

The dwarf planet Haumea is the largest member of the family, and the core of the differentiated progenitor; other identified members are the moons of Haumea and the Kuiper belt objects (55636) 2002 TX300, (24835) 1995 SM55, (19308) 1996 TO66, (120178) 2003 OP32, (145453) 2005 RR43, (86047) 1999 OY3, (416400) 2003 UZ117, (308193) 2005 CB79, 2003 SQ317[3] and (386723) 2009 YE7,[4] all with an ejection velocity from Haumea of less than 150 m/s.[5] The brightest Haumeids have absolute magnitudes (H) bright enough to suggest a size between 400 and 700 km in diameter, and so possible dwarf planets, if they had the albedos of typical TNOs; however, they are likely to be much smaller as it is thought they are water-icy bodies with high albedos. The dispersion of the proper orbital elements of the members is a few percent or less (5% for semi-major axis, 1.4° for the inclination and 0.08 for the eccentricity).[6] The diagram illustrates the orbital elements of the members of the family in relation to other TNOs.[citation needed]

The objects' common physical characteristics include neutral colours and deep infrared absorption features (at 1.5 and 2.0 μm) typical of water ice.[7][8]

Member orbitsEdit

Haumea collisional family
Name Mean anomaly
Epoch Arg.Per
Semi-major axis
a (AU)
H Albedo
136108 Haumea 214.0634158 2458000.5 238.8703238 121.9703096 28.20363528 0.189364867 43.35540773 0.2 0.80
(19308) 1996 TO66 138.3198033 2458000.5 239.7392156 355.2685304 27.47641085 0.12266934 43.14574924 4.8 0.7
(24835) 1995 SM55 329.4502628 2458000.5 72.59972842 21.10934028 27.09627096 0.101904744 41.62783812 4.6 0.7
(55636) 2002 TX300 76.40323137 2458000.5 338.2748696 324.6074846 25.86217729 0.123449237 43.06538353 3.4 0.88
(86047) 1999 OY3 63.50398705 2458000.5 304.6112431 301.7996763 24.21502662 0.172640468 43.85255215 6.8 0.7
(120178) 2003 OP32 72.4411346 2458000.5 68.38278265 182.9360269 27.21328678 0.108234874 43.18272472 3.9 0.7
(145453) 2005 RR43 46.80125338 2458000.5 278.4115508 85.81006564 28.55289669 0.135779523 43.039267 4.1 0.70
(308193) 2005 CB79 320.8370758 2458000.5 91.1455215 112.8524839 28.64647725 0.146744922 43.55516216 4.7 0.70
(386723) 2009 YE7 182.1347546 2458000.5 99.74202013 141.6075597 29.08966805 0.147800174 44.16498071 4.5 0.70
(416400) 2003 UZ117 339.9307571 2458000.5 247.448259 204.721906 27.47252328 0.129983806 44.05112933 5.3
2003 SQ317 6.946737862 2458000.5 191.8082104 176.337805 28.61851436 0.076663828 42.48850031 6.2 0.05-0.5

Resonances with NeptuneEdit

The current orbits of the members of the family cannot be accounted for by the formational collision alone. To explain the spread of the orbital elements, an initial velocity dispersion of ≈ 400 m/s is required, but such a velocity spread should have dispersed the fragments much further. This problem applies only to Haumea itself; the orbital elements of all the other objects in the family require an initial velocity dispersion of just ≈ 140 m/s. To explain this mismatch in the required velocity dispersion, Brown and colleagues suggest that Haumea initially had orbital elements closer to those of the other members of the family and its orbit (especially the orbital eccentricity) changed after the collision. Unlike the other members of the family, Haumea is in an intermittent 7:12 resonance with Neptune,[9] which could have increased Haumea's eccentricity to its current value.[1]

The Haumea family occupies a region of the Kuiper belt where multiple resonances (including the 3:5, 4:7, 7:12, 10:17 and 11:19 mean motion resonances) interact, leading to the orbital diffusion of that collision family.[10] Beside the intermittent 7:12 resonance currently occupied by Haumea itself, other members of the family occupy some of the other resonances, and resonance hopping (switching from one resonance to another) is possible on a time scale of hundreds of millions of years. (19308) 1996 TO66, the first member of the Haumea family to be discovered, is currently in an intermittent 11:19 resonance.[11]

Formation and evolutionEdit

Collisional formation of the family requires a progenitor some 1660 km in diameter, with a density of ~2.0 g/cm3, similar to Pluto and Eris. During the formational collision, Haumea lost roughly 20% of its mass, mostly ice, and became denser.[1]

In addition to the effects of resonances with Neptune, there may be other complications in the origin of the family. It has been suggested that the material ejected in the initial collision may have coalesced into a large moon of Haumea, which gradually increased its distance from Haumea through tidal evolution, and was then later shattered in a second collision, dispersing its shards outwards.[5] This second scenario produces a velocity dispersion of ~190 m/s, considerably closer to the measured ~140 m/s velocity dispersion of the family members; it also avoids the difficulty of the observed ~140 m/s dispersion being much less than the ~900 m/s escape velocity of Haumea.[5]

Haumea may not be the only elongated, rapidly rotating, large object in the Kuiper belt. In 2002, Jewitt and Sheppard suggested that Varuna should be elongated, based on its rapid rotation. In the early history of the Solar System, the trans-Neptunian region would have contained many more objects than it does at present, increasing the likelihood of collisions between objects. Gravitational interaction with Neptune has since scattered many objects out of the Kuiper belt to the scattered disc.[citation needed]

The presence of the collisional family hints that Haumea and its "offspring" might have originated in the scattered disc. In today's sparsely populated Kuiper belt, the chance of such a collision occurring over the age of the Solar System is less than 0.1 percent. The family could not have formed in the denser primordial Kuiper belt because such a close-knit group would have been disrupted by Neptune's subsequent migration into the belt, which is thought to have been the cause of its current low density. Therefore, it appears likely that the dynamic scattered disc region, in which the possibility of such a collision is far higher, is the place of origin for the object which would become Haumea and its kin. Simulations suggest the probability of one such family in the Solar System is approximately 50%, so it is possible that the Haumea family is unique.[2]

The + marks 2005 RR43 (B−V=0.77, V−R=0.41) on this color plot of TNOs. All the other Haumea-family members are located to the lower left of this point.

Because it would have taken at least a billion years for the group to have diffused as far as it has, the collision that created the Haumea family is thought to have occurred very early in the Solar System's history.[12] This conflicts with the findings of Rabinowitz and colleagues who found in their studies of the group that their surfaces were remarkably bright; their colour suggests that they have recently (i.e. within the last 100 million years) been resurfaced by fresh ice. Over a timescale as long as a billion years, energy from the Sun would have reddened and darkened their surfaces, and no plausible explanation has been found to account for their apparent youth.[13]

However, more detailed studies of the visible and near infrared spectrum of Haumea[14] show it is a homogeneous surface covered by an intimate 1:1 mixture of amorphous and crystalline ice, together with no more than 8% organics. This high amount of amorphous ice on the surface confirms that the collisional event must have happened more than 100 million years ago. This result agrees with the dynamical studies and discards the assumption that the surfaces of these objects are young.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Brown, Michael E.; Barkume, Kristina M.; Ragozzine, Darin; Schaller, Emily L. (2007). "A collisional family of icy objects in the Kuiper belt" (PDF). Nature. 446 (7133): 294–296. Bibcode:2007Natur.446..294B. doi:10.1038/nature05619. PMID 17361177.
  2. ^ a b Harold F. Levison; Alessandro Morbidelli; David Vokrouhlický; William F. Bottke (2008). "On a Scattered Disc Origin for the 2003 EL61 Collisional Family—an Example of the Importance of Collisions in the Dynamics of Small Bodies". The Astronomical Journal. 136 (3): 1079–1088. arXiv:0809.0553. Bibcode:2008AJ....136.1079L. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/136/3/1079.
  3. ^ a b Snodgrass, Carry, Dumas, Hainaut (16 December 2009). "Characterisation of candidate members of (136108) Haumea's family". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 511: A72. arXiv:0912.3171. Bibcode:2010A&A...511A..72S. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/200913031.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Trujillo, Sheppard and Schaller (14 February 2011). "A Photometric System for Detection of Water and Methane Ices on Kuiper Belt Objects". The Astrophysical Journal. 730 (2): 105. arXiv:1102.1971. Bibcode:2011ApJ...730..105T. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/730/2/105.
  5. ^ a b c Schlichting, Hilke E.; Re'em Sari (2009). "The Creation of Haumea's Collisional Family". The Astrophysical Journal. 700 (2): 1242–1246. arXiv:0906.3893. Bibcode:2009ApJ...700.1242S. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/700/2/1242.
  6. ^ de la Fuente Marcos, Carlos; de la Fuente Marcos, Raúl (1 February 2018). "Dynamically correlated minor bodies in the outer Solar system". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 474 (1): 838–846. arXiv:1710.07610. Bibcode:2018MNRAS.474..838D. doi:10.1093/mnras/stx2765.
  7. ^ Pinilla-Alonso, N.; Licandro, J.; Gil-Hutton, R.; Brunetto, R. (2007). "The water ice rich surface of (145453) 2005 RR43: A case for a carbon-depleted population of TNOs?". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 468: L25. arXiv:astro-ph/0703098. Bibcode:2007A&A...468L..25P. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20077294.
  8. ^ Pinilla-Alonso, N.; Licandro, J.; Lorenzi, V. (July 2008). "Visible spectroscopy in the neighborhood of 2003EL{61}". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 489 (1): 455–458. arXiv:0807.2670. Bibcode:2008A&A...489..455P. doi:10.1051/0004-6361:200810226.
  9. ^ Mark Buie, Orbit Fit and Astrometric record for 136108, 11 November 2019
  10. ^ Ragozzine & Brown, Candidate Members and Age Estimate of the Family of Kuiper Belt Object 2003 EL61, submitted 4 Sep 2007
  11. ^ D. Ragozzine; M. E. Brown (2007-09-04). "Candidate Members and Age Estimate of the Family of Kuiper Belt Object 2003 EL61". The Astronomical Journal. 134 (6): 2160–2167. arXiv:0709.0328. Bibcode:2007AJ....134.2160R. doi:10.1086/522334.
  12. ^ D. Ragozzine; M. E. Brown (2007). "Candidate Members and Age Estimate of the Family of Kuiper Belt Object 2003 EL61". The Astronomical Journal. 134 (6): 2160–2167. arXiv:0709.0328. Bibcode:2007AJ....134.2160R. doi:10.1086/522334.
  13. ^ David L. Rabinowitz; Bradley E. Schaefer; Martha W. Schaefer; Suzanne W. Tourtellotte (2008). "The Youthful Appearance of the 2003 EL61 Collisional Family". The Astronomical Journal. 136 (4): 1502–1509. arXiv:0804.2864. Bibcode:2008AJ....136.1502R. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/136/4/1502.
  14. ^ N. Pinilla-Alonso; R. Brunetto; J. Licandro; R. Gil-Hutton; T. L. Roush; G. Strazzulla (March 2009). "Study of the Surface of 2003 EL61, the largest carbon-depleted object in the trans-neptunian belt". Astronomy and Astrophysics. 496 (2): 547. arXiv:0803.1080. Bibcode:2009A&A...496..547P. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/200809733.

External linksEdit