This discovery was due to a rare phenomenon - stellar eclipse, when the planet passed tiny dim stars, allowing scientists to see the atmosphere and determine its size.

astronomers led by Jose Luis Ortiz of the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia in Spain saw the dwarf planet during an eclipse, looking at the light from a distant star.

Previous observations have shown that the size of Makemake is two-thirds the size of Pluto (equatorial radius of Makemake is 1502 ± 45 km), and she can have a little atmosphere, which falls on the planet when it is removed from the sun.

The size of the dwarf planet Makemake (Makemake) size dwarf planet Makemake (Makemake)

If this were so, the light from the star is gradually disappearing, and there would be again as it passes through the planet's atmosphere.However,
when Makemake passed through the light from the star NOMAD 1181-0235723 April 23, 2011, the light disappeared, and suddenly reappeared.According to José Luis Ortiz, this means that the dwarf planet does not have any significant atmosphere.However, astronomer Dr. Michael Ireland from Macquarie University in Sydney, says that the discussion about the existence of an atmosphere on Makemake is not over yet.

«Makemake moves in highly elliptical 300-year orbit, and therefore the surface temperature rises or falls depending on the distance of the planet from the Sun," says Michael Ireland.

At a time when the planet is at the least distance from the Sun for over 150 years, the ice on the planet's surface may be sublimated in the rarefied atmosphere.Makemake's orbit is farther from the Sun than the orbit of Earth 38 times and up to 53 times, depending on at what point in its orbit is a planet.

During the observations, the results of which were published in the journal Nature, Jose Luis Ortiz and his colleagues managed to better define the size and density of Makemake.The planet is slightly flattened at both poles of the ball - the equatorial diameter is 1502 kilometers and 1430 kilometers of pole.

also able to measure the reflectance of Makemake - value, called albedo, which depends on the composition of the planet's surface.

Albedo Makemake is 0.77, which is comparable to the surface, similar to the composition of dirty snow.Albedo Makemake larger than Pluto, but lower than that of Eris - the largest dwarf planet in the Solar System.

The icy dwarf planet Makemake (Makemake) icy dwarf planet Makemake (Makemake)

Makemake is one of five celestial bodies, including Pluto, which was classified as a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union.This planet is named after the creator of humanity and god of fertility in the culture of the indigenous people of Easter Island.
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