Latest Makemake Stories

Atmosphere Lacking On Dwarf Planet Makemake
2012-11-21 15:33:44

[ Watch the Video: The Occultation of Dwarf Planet Makemake ] Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online New observations using three telescopes at the European Space Observatory's (ESO) Chile location have shown that the dwarf planet Makemake does not have much of an atmosphere after all. Astronomers originally predicted that the planet had an atmosphere like Pluto, but the new observations published in the journal Nature show that it actually doesn't. The planet is...

2011-05-12 10:39:40

The fifth dwarf planet of the Solar System, Haumea, and at least one of its two satellites, are covered in crystalline water-ice due to the tidal forces between them and the heat of radiogenic elements. This is the finding of an international research study using observations from the VLT telescope at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. The tiny and strange planet Haumea moves beyond the orbit of Neptune. It has the shape of a flattened rugby ball and is around 2,000 km long. It spins...

2011-01-13 10:25:00

In the outer reaches of our solar system lies a mysterious region far more remote and difficult to explore than the Australian outback. It remains the only part of our solar system not visited by spacecraft. Called the Kuiper Belt, this area beyond Neptune is home to the dwarf planets Pluto, Eris, Makemake, and Haumea. It also harbors thousands of smaller objects that form a second, icy asteroid belt (or more appropriately, comet belt). In this realm of perpetual twilight, the distant sun...

2009-09-16 05:30:00

A dark red area discovered on dwarf planet Haumea appears to be richer in minerals and organic compounds than the surrounding icy surface. The discovery will be presented at the European Planetary Science Congress in Potsdam by Dr Pedro Lacerda on Wednesday September 16. The spot was discovered by measuring changes in its brightness as it rotates.  The origin of the spot is unknown, however its "light curve", which describes variations in its brightness over time, is not exactly the same...

2008-10-03 10:00:00

When a treasure hunt comes up empty-handed, the hunters are understandably disappointed. But when astronomers don't find what they are looking for, the defeat can provide as much information as a successful search. The search in question, the Taiwanese-American Occultation Survey (TAOS), spent two years periodically photographing portions of the sky to look for small chunks of rock and ice orbiting beyond Neptune, in a region of the solar system called the Kuiper Belt. The survey targeted...

2008-09-19 17:02:55

Pluto and its dwarf planet brethren have a new friend. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced the name of a new dwarf planet to join the existing four in the solar system. The object previously known as 2003 EL61 is now named Haumea, after the goddess of childbirth and fertility in Hawaiian mythology. The name was decided by members of the International Astronomical Union's Committee on Small Body Nomenclature and the IAU Working Group for Planetary System...

2008-07-21 10:00:00

According to the International Astronomical Union, a dwarf planet beyond Neptune has been given the name Makemake, and has been designated the third plutoid in the solar system. The red, methane-covered Makemake, formerly known as "Easterbunny" or 2005 FY9, is named after the Polynesian god of fertility and creator of humanity. Last month the International Astronomical Union, which names heavenly bodies, created a new rank of sub-planets called plutoids. The other two plutoids are Eris, and...

2006-01-18 06:40:00

NASA -- In the not-too-distant past, the planet Pluto was thought to be an odd bird in the outer reaches of the solar system because it has a moon, Charon, that was formed much like Earth's own moon was formed. But Pluto is getting a lot of company these days. Of the four largest objects in the Kuiper belt, three have one or more moons. "We're now beginning to realize that Pluto is one of a small family of similar objects, nearly all of which have moons in orbit around them," says Antonin...

2005-10-02 11:51:59

By Deborah Zabarenko WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Xena, the possible 10th planet in our solar system, has its own moon, a dim little satellite called Gabrielle, its discoverers reported. Astronomers who reported Xena's discovery in July said they detected Xena's sidekick on September 10 using the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Their findings will be submitted to the Astrophysical Journal Letters on Monday. "Since the day we discovered Xena, the big question has been whether or...

2005-09-10 09:38:31

Astrobiology Magazine -- When planetary scientists announced on July 29 that they had discovered a new planet larger than Pluto, the news overshadowed the two other objects the group had also found. But all three objects are odd additions to the solar system, and as such could revolutionize our understanding of how our part of the celestial neighborhood evolved. To the discoverers, the objects still go by the unofficial code-names "Santa," "Easterbunny," and "Xena," though they are...

Word of the Day
  • A unit of saved energy.
Coined by Amory Lovins, chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute as a contraction of negative watt on the model of similar compounds like megawatt.