Dwarf Planet Near Pluto Gets a Name

Reuters, July 20, 2008

A dwarf planet orbiting beyond Neptune has been designated the third plutoid in the solar system and given the name Makemake, the International Astronomical Union said on Saturday.

The red methane-covered dwarf planet formerly known as 2005 FY9 or “Easterbunny” is named after a Polynesian creator of humanity and god of fertility.


Makemake is just slightly smaller and dimmer than Pluto and was discovered in 2005.

“The orbit is not particularly strange, but the object itself is big, probably about two-thirds the size of Pluto,” said Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology, who discovered and named Makemake (pronounced MAH-keh MAH-keh).


Brown said the name came to him when he was looking for a mythological god and thought of the South Pacific’s Easter Island. Makemake was the chief god among people who settled the island.

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