Makemake Facts

Makemake Facts
Makemake is the second furthest dwarf planet from the Sun and the third largest dwarf planet in the Solar System. It was first observed by a team of astronomers at the Palomar Observatory on March 31, 2005 and announced to the public on July 29, 2005. The team was led by American astronomer Michael E. Brown, who is also known as the man who "killed Pluto" because he downgraded the planet Pluto to a dwarf planet. Makemake takes 310 Earth years for this dwarf planet to make one orbit around the Sun. It orbits beyond the orbit of Pluto, but closer to the Sun than Eris.
Interesting Makemake Facts:
On April 26, 2016, astronomers announced the discovery of a moon that is orbiting Makemake using observations from the Hubble Space Telescope taken in April 2015. It was given the provisional name S/2015. Scientists use satellites to estimate the size of an object's mass, so now this will help lead scientists to estimate its mass.
Makemake spins on its axis once every 22.5 hours, which makes a day on this planet similar to a day on Earth.
Slightly dimmer than Pluto, Makemake is the second brightest known object in the outer Solar System and about two-thirds the size of Pluto at approximately 870 miles (1,400 kilometers) wide. It is bright enough that it can be seen by using a high-end amateur telescope, despite its current distance of nearly 53 times the distance between the Earth and Sun.
Makemake's lack of moons and sunlight makes it difficult to study. Recently Makemake passed by a star, an event known as a stellar occultation, giving astronomers an opportunity to observe in detail. Scientists expected this dwarf planet's atmosphere to be similar to that of Pluto, however, they found it has no atmosphere.
Makemake is a known as a classical Kuiper belt object, which means its orbit lies far enough from Neptune to remain stable over the age of the Solar System. Like all the known dwarf planets, except Ceres, Makemake travels through the Kuiper Belt which is the region of ice and rock at the outer edges of the Solar System. It can travel as far out as 53 times the distance between Earth and Sun, and then come as close as 38 times over the course of its orbit.
Makemake has an extremely low temperature around minus 243.2 degrees Celsius. This means that the surface is thought to be covered with methane, ethane and possible nitrogen ices, which gives it a reddish-brown color. The temperature is due to the huge distance away from the Sun and could never support any kind of life.
The name Makemake, the creator of humanity, god of fertility and chief god in the mythos of the Rapa Nui, the native people of Easter Island, was chosen because of its discovery shortly after Easter. In fact, before the discovery was made public, the team used the codename "Easterbunny" for the project.
Theoretically Clyde Tombaugh (discovered Pluto) could have detected the dwarf planet during his search for trans-Neptunian planets around 1930, however it would have been almost impossible to find against the dense background of stars of the Milky Way.
It is calculated that a flyby mission could take around 16 years using a gravity assist from Jupiter.


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