top of page

Makemake- The Dwarf Planet

A dwarf planet, as defined by the International Astronomical Union, is a celestial entity that circles the sun, has enough mass to assume a roughly spherical form, has not cleared the area surrounding its orbit and is not a moon.

Photo credit-theplanets.org

Makemake is a dwarf planet that is found in the Kuiper Belt, a donut-shaped region together with Pluto, Eris, and Haumea. The Kuiper belt, also known as the Edgeworth-Kuiper belt, is a flat ring of frozen tiny planets that orbits the Sun outside of Neptune's orbit. It contains hundreds of millions of objects with orbits that are near to the solar system's plane and was named after the Dutch-born American astronomer Gerard P. Kuiper. These objects are thought to be leftovers from the creation of the outer planets. Most of the detected short-period comets, especially those that orbit the Sun in less than 20 years, and the icy Centaur objects, which have orbits near the big planets, are assumed to have originated in the Kuiper belt.

Photo credit-solarsystem.nasa.gov

M.E. Brown, C.A. Trujillo, and D.L. Rabinowitz made the initial observation of Makemake in March 2005 at the Palomar Observatory. Easterbunny was the unofficial codename for it. Makemake is the second-brightest object in the Kuiper Belt as seen from Earth, only a little smaller than Pluto (while Pluto is the brightest). This dwarf planet makes one round of the Sun in roughly 305 Earth years.

Pluto

Makemake was given that name in honor of the Rapanui fertility god. It appears implausible that life could live on Makemake's surface given how icy it is. Makemake is 45.8 astronomical units from the Sun, or 4,253,000,000 miles (6,847,000,000 kilometers), on average. S/2015 (136472) 1, Makemake's sole temporary moon, goes by the title MK 2. Compared to Makemake, it is more than 1,300 times fainter. Thousands of tiny frozen planets, which originated at the beginning of our solar system's existence roughly 4.5 billion years ago, are scattered throughout this far-off region. These cold, stony objects are also known as plutoids, transneptunian objects, and Kuiper Belt objects.

Photo credit-solarsystem.nasa.gov

From so far away, it is difficult for us to detect many characteristics of Makemake's surface, although it does seem to have a reddish-brown tint, similar to Pluto. On its surface, methane and ethane have also been found to be frozen by scientists. In fact, frozen methane pellets as large as 1 centimeter (0.5 inches) in diameter may lie on Makemake's frigid surface. Near perihelion, when Makemake comes closest to the Sun, a very thin atmosphere, most likely formed of nitrogen, may form.


Stay tuned to know more about our universe.

54 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page