Friday, May 17, 2019

Hawaiian poi pounder located in deep space

A Hawaiian poi pounder roams deep interstellar space, looking for a poi board.

Okay, thatʻs over the top, but object MU69, deep in the Kuiper Belt, sure looks like a classic Hawaiian poi pounder, with its two lobes separated by a narrow central cylinder.

(Image: The interstellar poi pounder, viewed by the New Horizons spacecraft. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute, National Optical Astronomy Observatory.)

The pounder was located and photographed by NASAʻs New Horizons spacecraft after it flew by Pluto on its route into deep space.

The Kuiper Belt is a collection of icy objects that orbits way out at the outer edges of our solar system. Pluto is among the objects in the belt. The "belt" forms a doughnut shape around the planets, centered on the sun. Even farther out is the Oort Cloud of objects that can form comets.

MU69, formally known as (486958) 2014 MU69, is nicknamed Ultima Thule, which has been translated to mean "beyond the known world."

It has been drifting out there for more than 4 billion years, in its inexorable search for taro to pound and a poi board on which to pound it.

Understandably, folks not from Hawai`i donʻt recognize its tropical origins. suggests it formed from the gentle collision of two circular objects, and describes it as looking like a snowman

Hawaiian poi pounders or ku`i, donʻt all the look the same. Here is a Bishop Museum site with images of the great range of pounder designs, which help indicate the importance of poi and its manufacture to the Hawaiian people.

And also, perhaps, to the giant aliens who fabricated the ku`i known as Ultima Thule.

© Jan TenBruggencate 2019

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