Tag: plutoid

The Fourth Dwarf Planet Is Officially Christened: Meet "Makemake"

By Eliza Strickland | July 22, 2008 12:22 pm

Makemake dwarf planet plutoidA cold and sterile chunk of rock orbiting the sun in the vicinity of Neptune and Pluto has been officially named Makemake, after a Polynesian god. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has also designated Makemake the solar system‘s fourth dwarf planet and third “plutoid,” as researchers’ new aptitude for locating small orbital bodies has required a new and controversial system of classification.

Astronomers discovered Makemake (pronounced MAH-keh MAH-keh)… in 2005 and believe its surface is covered by a layer of frozen methane. It is bright enough to be seen by a high-end amateur telescope [SPACE.com]. Researchers say it’s about two-thirds the size of Pluto.

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