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Makemake

The meaning of «makemake»

(1502±45) × (1430±9 km)[11]

Makemake[19] (minor-planet designation 136472 Makemake) is a dwarf planet and perhaps the second-largest Kuiper belt object in the classical population,[a] with a diameter approximately two-thirds that of Pluto.[24][25] It has one known satellite.[26] Its extremely low average temperature, about 40 K (−230 °C), means its surface is covered with methane, ethane, and possibly nitrogen ices.[21]

Makemake was discovered on March 31, 2005 by a team led by Michael E. Brown, and announced on July 29, 2005. It was initially known as 2005 FY9 and later given the minor-planet number 136472. In July 2008, it was named after Makemake, a creator god in the Rapa Nui mythology of Easter Island, under the expectation by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) that it would prove to be a dwarf planet.[25][27][28][29]

Makemake was discovered on March 31, 2005, by a team at the Palomar Observatory, led by Michael E. Brown,[9] and was announced to the public on July 29, 2005. The team had planned to delay announcing their discoveries of the bright objects Makemake and Eris until further observations and calculations were complete, but announced them both on July 29 when the discovery of another large object they had been tracking, Haumea, was controversially announced on July 27 by a different team in Spain.[30]

The earliest known precovery observations of Makemake have been found in photographic plates of the Palomar Observatory's Digitized Sky Survey from January 29, 1955 to May 1, 1998.[31]

Despite its relative brightness (it is about a fifth as bright as Pluto),[f] Makemake was not discovered until after many much fainter Kuiper belt objects. Most searches for minor planets are conducted relatively close to the ecliptic (the region of the sky that the Sun, Moon and planets appear to lie in, as seen from Earth), due to the greater likelihood of finding objects there. It probably escaped detection during the earlier surveys due to its relatively high orbital inclination, and the fact that it was at its farthest distance from the ecliptic at the time of its discovery, in the northern constellation of Coma Berenices.[18]

Makemake is the brightest trans-Neptunian object after Pluto,[33] with an apparent magnitude of 16.2 in late 1930,[34] it is theoretically bright enough to have been discovered by Clyde Tombaugh, whose search for trans-Neptunian objects was sensitive to objects up to magnitude 17. Indeed, in 1934 Tombaugh reported that there were no other planets out to a magnitude of 16.5 and an inclination of 17 degrees, or of greater inclination but within 50 degrees of either node.[35] And Makemake was there: At the time of Tombaugh's survey (1930–1943), Makemake varied from 5.5 to 13.2 degrees from the ecliptic,[34] moving across Auriga, starting near the northwest corner of Taurus and cutting across a corner of Gemini.[g] The starting position, however, was very close to the galactic anticenter, and Makemake would have been almost impossible to find against the dense background of stars.[dubious – discuss] Tombaugh continued searching for thirteen years after his discovery of Pluto (and Makemake, though growing dimmer, was still magnitude 16.6 in early 1943, the last year of his search),[34] but by then he was searching higher latitudes and did not find any more objects orbiting beyond Neptune.[36]

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