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Haumea had several daughters. One of her daughters was Hi'iaka. Hi'iaka was the patron goddess of hula dancers.
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Haumea - Hawaiian Goddess

Haumea was the goddess of childbirth in Hawaiian mythology. One of her children was the volcano and fire goddess Pele. Her children also included the sea goddess Namaka and Hi'iaka - the goddess of hula dancers.

In one Hawaiian myth, Haumea's children were born by springing forth from various parts of the body of their mother. Hi'iaka sprang from Haumea's mouth. Namaka came from her mother's thigh.

Haumea is also the name astronomers have given to a dwarf planet in our Solar System. The dwarf planet's moons have the names of two of Haumea's children, Hi'iaka and Namaka.

There are several connections between the myth of Haumea and the dwarf planet and its moons. Astronomers think Haumea may have crashed into another large object a long time ago. It is possible that pieces left over from this collision came together to form Haumea's moons. If so, the scientific story matches the myth. The "children" (moons) of Haumea did indeed "spring forth from" the "body" of their "mother" (the dwarf planet).

The goddess Haumea also represents the "element" of stone. The dwarf planet Haumea appears to contain more rocky material than is usual for most Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs). KBOs usually have more ice in them. The dwarf planet is connected to the Hawaiian goddess in yet another way!

Finally, one of the groups involved with the discovery of the dwarf planet used telescopes in Hawaii to observe this faint, distant object. Who better, then, to name the dwarf planet after than a Hawaiian goddess?

Last modified October 8, 2008 by Randy Russell.

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