Hubble Spies A Moon Orbiting A Distant Dwarf Planet

Mini-Makemake

Artist's Concept

Artist's Concept

An artist's concept of what Makemake and it's newly discovered moon might look like.NASA, ESA, and A. Parker (Southwest Research Institute)

Hubble has big news from a tiny dwarf planet on the outskirts of our Solar System.

Earlier this month, researchers working with the 26-year-old space telescope caught a glimpse of a tiny bright dot next to the small dwarf planet Makemake, located way out in the Kuiper Belt, a ring of frozen material orbiting our Sun at the outskirts of the Solar System.

"Makemake is in the class of rare Pluto-like objects, so finding a companion is important," Alex Parker, who led the investigations said in a statement. "The discovery of this moon has given us an opportunity to study Makemake in far greater detail than we ever would have been able to without the companion."

Makemake is 50 times further from the Sun than Earth, and is much smaller, only 870 miles wide. The moon, named MK2 for now, is only 100 miles wide, and is located 13,000 miles away from Makemake.

Pluto, the most famous and controversial dwarf planet is estimated to be 1,473 miles across and has 5 moons.

Makemake and Moon

Makemake and Moon

An annotated image captured by Hubble shows the dwarf planet Makemake and its newly discovered moon.NASA, ESA, A. Parker and M. Buie (Southwest Research Institute), W. Grundy (Lowell Observatory), and K. Noll (NASA GSFC)