Quaoar

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Hubble Space Telescope image of Quaoar. Sixteen exposures for this blurry blob.
An artist's conception of what Quaoar looks like.

50000 Quaoar is a trans-Neptunian object approximately 890-960 kilometers in diameter that was discovered on June 4, 2002 by astronomers Chad Trujillo and Michael Brown (the guy who later discovered Eris and killed Pluto) at Caltech. It orbits the sun at a distance of ~43 astronomical units and has an orbital period of around 286 years. Quaoar also has a moon named Weywot.

All Kuiper belt objects must be named after a creation deity. In How I Killed Pluto (And Why It Had It Coming), Brown tells how he and Trujillo, running short on creation deities, scoured the Internet for a suitable creator. They ended up asking the Tongva tribe for permission to use the name of their deity Quaoar. ("We didn't know anyone in the Tongva tribe, but Chad went to www.tongva.com, found a phone number and called it. The chief answered.")

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