Makemake was first discovered in March 2005 and became a dwarf planet officially in July 2008. It was discovered by a team led by Michael Brown at the Palomar Observatory and was publicly announced on the 29th July 2005.  Before this, there were other dwarf planets as well such as Pluto, Ceres and also Eris. It is classified as an icy world which takes 310 years to orbit the Sun.

This dwarf planet is smaller than Pluto and Eris with a diameter between 1,300 and 1,900 km. The astronomers have yet to find any moons circling it. This is considered odd as other large Kuiper Belt Object has at least one moon circling it. Satellites are able to provide a method which is simple enough to measure the mass of an object. However, it is rather difficult in this case as no satellites have yet to be discovered at the present.

Makemake is extremely cold with its temperature of minus 240° C. It is said that it is covered with ice which contains the substance of methane or ethane. The surface of this dwarf planet is extremely bright and is a bit red in colour. William Herschel Telescope and together with Telescopio Nazionale Galileo were used and proved that the dwarf planet’s surface is a resemblance of Pluto.

It goes in an orbit inclined at 29° and has a moderate eccentricity. This is somewhat very similar to Haumea.It is currently the second brightest Kuiper Belt object known so far, taking its place after Pluto. It is slightly larger than Haumea on size and is now the fourth dwarf planet known in the Solar System. This is because it has V-band absolute magnitude of -0.45, large enough ot obtain hydrostatic equilibrium to become an oblate spheroid.

Pluto, Eris and Makemake are considered as a plutoid, a term for dwarf planets that orbit the Sun beyond planet Neptune.

Leave a Reply