Hubble Discovers A Tiny Moon Orbiting Dwarf Planet Makemake

Posted: Apr 27 2016, 6:17am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 27 2016, 7:07am CDT, in News | Latest Science News


Dwarf Planet Makemake Has A Tiny Orbiting Moon
This artist's concept shows the distant dwarf planet Makemake and its newly discovered moon. Makemake and its moon, nicknamed MK 2, are more than 50 times farther away than Earth is from the sun. Credits: NASA, ESA, and A. Parker (Southwest Research Institute)
  • Dwarf Planet Makemake's Satellite Moon Discovered by Hubble Space Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope has found that the dwarf planet Makemake has a tiny moon orbiting it.

Gazing deep into the farthest corners of our mysterious universe, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has discovered a miniature moon going around Makemake.

Makemake is a dwarf planet that is second only to Pluto in the Kuiper Belt beyond our solar system. The moon has earned the moniker of MK 2. It is a lot fainter than Makemake and is hardly discernible. It is 13,000 miles away from the small planet. 

A hundred miles in diameter, MK 2 can be compared to Makemake which is 870 miles wide. The small planet was spotted in 2005. It earned its name from the title of a demiurge of the Rapa Nui people of Easter Island.

Basically, the Kuiper Belt contains the frozen debris leftover from the formation of our solar system approximately 4.5 billion years ago. It is the provenance of many minute planets or planetoids.  

A few of these heavenly bodies have satellites. This is the first time that a satellite moon has been detected orbiting Makemake, according to NASA. Makemake is among the list of five dwarf planets in this region. 

It was in April of 2015 that these discoveries were made. The Hubble Space Telescope was employed to catch images of these brand new worlds so far away from us.

Today the whole project was announced to the general public. The selfsame methods were used to detect Makemake and its moon as were utilized to discover the moons of Pluto which had been kicked out of the list of planets of the solar system.

Earlier attempts to discern this dwarf planet had returned empty-handed. Yet now we are beginning to gather knowledge about this interesting other-world in our universe. 

The moon was missed by the telescope, since it was so faint when compared to the planet itself. Now we can explore further into the intricacies of dwarf planetary systems.

Information regarding the evolution of MK 2 will be a boon for astronomy. Most dwarf planets tend to have moons. Makemake is a rare find. There are certain points of comparison between Makemake and Pluto.

They will be delved into by future astronomers. The moon of Makemake travels around it in approximately 12 days. Pluto’s moon, Charon was spotted in 1978. Today, it is 2016 and with the discovery of Makemake’s moon, we sure have come a long way. 

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
Sumayah Aamir (Google+) has deep experience in analyzing the latest trends.




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