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Introduction :
Makemake (minor-planet designation 136472 Makemake) is a likely dwarf planet and perhaps the second-largest Kuiper belt object in the classical population, with a diameter approximately two-thirds that of Pluto. Makemake has one known satellite. Its extremely low average temperature, about 40 K (−230 °C), means its surface is covered with methane, ethane, and possibly nitrogen ices.

Makemake was discovered on March 31, 2005, by a team led by Michael E. Brown, and announced on July 29, 2005. Initially, it was known as 2005 FY9 and later given the minor-planet number 136472. In July 2008 it was named after Makemake, the creator god of the Rapa Nui people of Easter Island, under the expectation by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) that it would prove to be a dwarf planet.


Size and Distance :

With a radius of approximately 444 miles (715 kilometers), Makemake is 1/9 the radius of Earth. If Earth were the size of a nickel, Makemake would be about as big as a mustard seed.

From an average distance of 4,253,000,000 miles (6,847,000,000 kilometers), Makemake is 45.8 astronomical units away from the sun. One astronomical unit (abbreviated as AU), is the distance from the sun to Earth. From this distance, it takes sunlight 6 hours and 20 minutes to travel from the sun to Makemake.

Orbit and Rotation :

Makemake takes 305 Earth years to make one trip around the sun. As Makemake orbits the sun, it completes one rotation every 22 and a half hours, making its day length similar to Earth and Mars.


Facts :

  • Makemake could have been discovered earlier.
    Makemake is the second brightest Kuiper Belt object after Pluto, theoretically Clyde Tombaugh (discoverer of Pluto) could have detected it during his search for trans-Neptunian planets around 1930. However, Makemake would have been almost impossible to find against the dense background of stars of the Milky Way.

  • Makemake has one moon.
    Discovered in April 2016 and nicknamed MK 2 (designation S/2015 (136472) 1) it is estimated to be 160 km in diameter. The moon was spotted about 20,000 km from Makemake in observations made by the Hubble Space Telescope. Satellites offer an easy method to measure an object mass, so before the moon’s discovery Makemake’s mass could only be estimated.

  • Makemake lacks its expected atmosphere.
    Astronomers thought Makemake would have developed an atmosphere similar to Pluto’s, its chance passing in front of a bright star in 2011 revealed it mostly lacks a gas envelope. If present, Makemake’s atmosphere would likley be methane and nitrogen-based.

  • Makemake is a classical Kuiper belt object.
    This means its orbit lies far enough from Neptune to not be significantly affected by Neptune’s gravity (unlike Pluto) and will remain stable over the age of the Solar System,

  • Makemake was named three years after its discovery in 2008.
    The name comes from the the creator of humanity and god of fertility in the mythos of the Rapa Nui (the native people of Easter Island). The name was partly chosen due to Makemake’s discovery close to Easter.

3 D Model of Makemake

Source: NASA Visualization Technology Applications and Development (VTAD)

Source Credits : NASA, Wikipedia and Space Facts.

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