Wednesday, 16 July 2008

A Dwarf Planet!

Makemake (pronounced [ˈmɑkeˈmɑke], formally designated 136472) Makemake, is the third-largest known dwarf planet in the Solar System, and one of the two largest Kuiper belt objects (KBO) in the classical KBO population. Its diameter is roughly three-quarters that of Pluto. Makemake has no known satellites, which makes it unique among the largest KBOs. Its extremely low average temperature (about 30 K) means its surface is covered with methane and possibly ethane ices.

Initially known as 2005 FY9 (and later given the minor planet number 136472), it was discovered on March 31, 2005 by the team led by Michael Brown. Its discovery was announced on July 29, 2005. On June 11, 2008, the IAU included Makemake in its list of potential candidates to be given "plutoid" status, a term for dwarf planets beyond the orbit of Neptune that would place the object alongside Pluto and Eris. Makemake was formally classified as a plutoid in July 2008.

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