Moon Found Orbiting Dwarf Planet Makemake

Apr 28, 2016

Astronomers have found a tiny moon hidden behind the dwarf planet Makemake in the outer solar system. Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff was part of the discovery team.

Credit NASA/ESA/A.Parker

The discovery was announced this week. Astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope to spot the moon previously obscured by Makemake’s glare.

The dwarf planet is covered with frozen methane, which makes it shine a bright white color. Its newly discovered moon is dark. With further study, the researchers hope to explain the differences in color.

Will Grundy at Lowell Observatory is on the team that found the moon. He’s part of NASA’s New Horizons mission, which took the first close-up images of Pluto.