Share this page!

Last Updated on March 2, 2024 by Universe Unriddled

Makemake Dwarf Planet Facts

Makemake is a dwarf planet located in the outer reaches of our solar system.

It was discovered in 2005 by scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope and was later recognized as a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union in 2008.

Makemake is the second furthest dwarf planet from the sun and is the third largest dwarf planet in our solar system.

Makemake is a member of a group of objects that orbit in a disc-like zone beyond the orbit of Neptune called the Kuiper Belt.

This region is home to a multitude of icy bodies, including Pluto and Haumea.

Makemake’s surface is covered in methane, ethane, and nitrogen ices, giving it a reflective surface that makes it easier to study from Earth.

Despite being so far away, scientists have been able to learn a lot about this distant world through observations and data analysis.

Get ready to explore fascinating facts about Makemake and its place in our solar system.

From its discovery to its unique characteristics, we will delve into the science and technology behind studying this distant world.

Join us on a journey through the Milky Way as we uncover the secrets of Makemake and the Kuiper Belt.

Makemake: The Dwarf Planet

Makemake is one of the five officially recognized dwarf planets in our solar system. It was discovered in 2005 by Michael E. Brown, Chad Trujillo, and David Rabinowitz using the Hubble Space Telescope.

Makemake is named after the Rapa Nui god of fertility and creator of humanity, who is also known as Tangaroa.

Size and Mass

Makemake is the second-largest dwarf planet in the Kuiper Belt, with a diameter of approximately 1,430 kilometers (890 miles). Its mass is estimated to be about 1/3 that of Pluto, making it the third most massive dwarf planet after Pluto and Eris.

Orbit and Distance from the Sun

Makemake orbits the Sun at an average distance of about 6.8 billion kilometers (4.2 billion miles), which is roughly 45 astronomical units (AU) away from the Sun. Its orbit is highly elliptical, with a perihelion distance of 5.7 billion kilometers (3.5 billion miles) and an aphelion distance of 7.9 billion kilometers (4.9 billion miles).

Surface and Atmosphere

Makemake’s surface is covered with a mixture of nitrogen, methane, and ethane ices, which give it a reddish-brown color. The dwarf planet has a low albedo, which means it reflects very little sunlight. Makemake’s atmosphere is very thin, with a surface pressure estimated to be less than 1/1000th that of Earth’s atmosphere.

Neighborhood and Moons

Makemake is located in the Kuiper Belt, a region of the outer solar system beyond the orbit of Neptune. It is part of a group of objects known as plutoids, which includes Pluto, Eris, and Haumea.

Makemake has one known moon, called MK 2, which was discovered in 2015 using the Hubble Space Telescope. MK 2 is estimated to be about 160 kilometers (100 miles) in diameter.

Makemake is a fascinating celestial body that scientists continue to study to learn more about the formation and evolution of our solar system. Its unique features, such as its volatile-rich surface and thin atmosphere, make it an important target for future space missions.

Discovery and Naming

Makemake, the dwarf planet orbiting the Sun beyond the orbit of Pluto, was discovered on March 31, 2005, by a team of astronomers led by M.E. Brown, C.A. Trujillo, and D. Rabinowitz.

Initially designated as 2005 FY9, the dwarf planet was later named Makemake, after the creator god of the Polynesian inhabitants of Easter Island.

The name alludes to its discovery a few days after Easter.

Makemake’s discovery was made possible by the use of telescopes and advanced technology. The team used the Wide Field Camera 3 on the Hubble Space Telescope to observe the dwarf planet.

The telescope revealed the dwarf planet’s size and its orbit in the Kuiper Belt, a region of the solar system beyond the orbit of Neptune.

The discovery of Makemake was significant because it was the fourth dwarf planet to be discovered after Pluto, Eris, and Haumea.

The discovery also led to a reclassification of Pluto as a “dwarf planet” by the International Astronomical Union, which sparked a debate among astronomers and the public about what constitutes a planet.

Makemake is a classical Kuiper Belt object, which means it has a stable orbit around the Sun and is not influenced by the gravitational pull of Jupiter. Its size, at approximately 1,400 km (900 miles) in diameter, is large enough for gravity to have shaped it into a round shape, making it a dwarf planet.

In conclusion, the discovery and naming of Makemake was a significant milestone in the study of the solar system. The use of advanced technology and telescopes allowed astronomers to observe and understand the dwarf planet’s size, orbit, and characteristics.

Makemake’s discovery also led to a reclassification of Pluto and sparked a debate about what constitutes a planet.

Comparison with Other Dwarf Planets

When it comes to dwarf planets, Makemake is one of the most interesting and unique members of this category. However, it’s not alone in this category.

There are other dwarf planets in our solar system, each with its own distinct characteristics.

We will compare Makemake with three other dwarf planets: Pluto, Eris, and Haumea.

Pluto

Pluto is perhaps the most famous dwarf planet in our solar system. It was the first dwarf planet to be discovered, and for a long time, it was considered the ninth planet in our solar system.

Pluto is smaller than Makemake, with a diameter of about 2,377 kilometers. However, it has a higher mass than Makemake. Pluto is also known for its five moons, the largest of which is Charon.

Eris

Eris is another dwarf planet that is larger than Makemake. It was discovered in 2005 and is located in the Kuiper Belt, just like Makemake and Pluto.

Eris has a diameter of about 2,326 kilometers, which is slightly smaller than Pluto but still larger than Makemake. Eris is also known for its moon, Dysnomia.

Haumea

Haumea is a dwarf planet that was discovered in 2004. It is located in the Kuiper Belt and has a very unique shape.

Haumea is elongated and has two smaller moons, Hi’iaka and Namaka. Haumea has a diameter of about 1,218 kilometers, which is smaller than Makemake.

When we compare Makemake with these other dwarf planets, we can see that each has its own unique features. Makemake is larger than Haumea but smaller than Pluto and Eris. It also does not have any moons, unlike Pluto and Eris.

However, Makemake has a unique surface composition that sets it apart from the other dwarf planets. Its surface is covered in methane, ethane, and nitrogen ice, which gives it a reddish-brown color.

While each of these dwarf planets has its own unique characteristics, Makemake stands out for its surface composition and lack of moons. Its size and mass are also noteworthy, making it an important member of the Kuiper Belt.

Fun Facts about Makemake

Makemake is a dwarf planet located in the Kuiper Belt, a disc-like zone beyond the orbit of Neptune.

Here are some fun facts about this celestial body:

  • Makemake is named after the Rapa Nui god of fertility and creator of humanity, according to Rapa Nui mythology. The name was chosen by the discoverers of the dwarf planet, who were inspired by the fact that Makemake was discovered around Easter (also known as Rapa Nui) in 2005

.

  • Makemake is the second furthest dwarf planet from the Sun and is the third largest dwarf planet in the solar system. Its diameter is approximately two-thirds that of Pluto.
  • Until April 2016, Makemake was thought to be the only one of the four known dwarf planets without a moon. However, a moon called S/2015 (136472) 1 was discovered orbiting Makemake using the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • Makemake’s surface is covered in nitrogen ice and tholins, a type of organic molecule that is formed when ultraviolet light interacts with methane and nitrogen. These tholins give Makemake its reddish-brown color and low albedo (reflectivity).
  • Makemake has no atmosphere, but it does have a weak magnetosphere. This means that it has a magnetic field that is much weaker than Earth’s, but still strong enough to deflect some of the charged particles from the solar wind.
  • Makemake is not mentioned in many works of literature or dictionaries, but it has been referenced in some science fiction novels and movies. For example, it is mentioned in the novel “Red Rising” by Pierce Brown and the movie “Interstellar” by Christopher Nolan.
  • Makemake is part of a group of objects in the Kuiper Belt that are believed to have originated in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. These objects were ejected from the asteroid belt by the gravitational influence of Jupiter and then scattered to the outer solar system by Neptune’s gravity.
  • Makemake’s brightness varies slightly as it rotates, indicating that it has a non-spherical shape. This is similar to other icy worlds in the Kuiper Belt, such as Pluto and Haumea.

In conclusion, Makemake is a fascinating celestial body that has many unique features and characteristics.

Its discovery and naming are also tied to the rich cultural history of Easter Island and Rapa Nui mythology.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Trending