Amidst unresolved issues regarding the circumstances of its discovery, the big and weird Kuiper Belt Object 2003 EL61 has been named Haumea and is now listed as the 5th dwarf planet, joining Pluto, Eris and Makemake in the Kuiper Belt and Ceres in the main belt of asteroids; no further immediate candidates for ascension into this category of solar system bodies introduced only in 2006 are known. The two satellites of Haumea are now called Hi'iaka and Namaka. While the IAU refrains from saying anything about the discoverer(s) of Haumea, the USGS in its list locates the discovery telescope in Spain (where it was imaged but not recognized in 2003) yet also names no people. Mike Brown, who hit upon the same body in 2004, realized that it was something important and is generally credited with the discovery, meanwhile in great detail reiterates his claim of being the rightful owner of this dwarf planet. And indeed the IAU used his 2006 proposal for the name.
In other news this image may be the first one of comet P17/Holmes after its conjunction with the Sun, though it shows only the very core of the coma. • An interesting animation based on Metop data shows how the Kasatochi aerosols swept around the globe - so these weird post-sunset colors imaged by yours truly from Eastern Germany on Aug. 19 could already have been caused by them (which also goes for more German sunset views from that day, this August view from Colorado or another German view of Aug. 30). • Australian views of the evening planets on Sep. 13 and Sep. 1. • Another story on the September Perseids outburst. • New insights into the 19th century eruption of Eta Carinae. • And a view of overlapping galaxies from Hubble - where NICMOS is down and only the WFPC2 working now among the main instruments.