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News Release 6 of 192

April 26, 2016 01:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2016-18

Hubble Discovers Moon Orbiting the Dwarf Planet Makemake

April 26, 2016: Makemake is one of several dwarf planets that reside in the frigid outer realm of our solar system called the Kuiper Belt, a "junkyard" of countless icy bodies left over from our solar system's formation.

After discovering Makemake in 2005, astronomers had searched several times for a companion orbiting the icy world. Now, the Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered a tiny moon around Makemake that is estimated to be 100 miles wide. Nicknamed MK 2, the moon is more than 1,300 times fainter than Makemake, which is 870 miles across. MK 2 is 13,000 miles away from the dwarf planet.

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