Makemake and Its Moon

Makemake and Its Moon

Download Options

Fast Facts
News release ID: STScI-2016-18
Release Date: Apr 26, 2016
Image Use: Copyright
About this image

This Hubble Space Telescope image reveals the first moon ever discovered around the dwarf planet Makemake. The tiny moon, located just above Makemake in this image, is barely visible because it is almost lost in the glare of the very bright dwarf planet. The moon, nicknamed MK 2, is roughly 100 miles wide and orbits about 13,000 miles from Makemake. Makemake is 1,300 times brighter than its moon and is also much larger, at 870 miles across.

The Makemake system is more than 50 times farther than the Earth is from the sun. The pair resides on the outskirts of our solar system in the Kuiper Belt, a vast region of frozen debris from the construction of our solar system 4.5 billion years ago.

Previous searches for a moon around Makemake turned up empty. The moon may be in an edge-on orbit, so part of the time it gets lost in the bright glare of Makemake.

Hubble's sharp-eyed Wide Field Camera 3 made the observation in April 2015.

Annotated Observations, Kuiper Belt Objects, Moons, Small Solar System Bodies, Solar System


NASA, ESA, A. Parker and M. Buie (Southwest Research Institute), W. Grundy (Lowell Observatory), and K. Noll (NASA GSFC)