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Solar system
Dwarf planet, Makemake
Age

4.5 billion years, about the same age as the Sun

Location

Solar system, Kuiper Belt region

Avg. distance from the Sun

6.850 x 109 km (4.25 x 109 mi); The distance varies because Makemake's orbit around the Sun is elongated. Makemake can be as far as 7.9 x 109 km (4.9 x 109 mi) and as near as 5.7 x 109 km (3.5 x 109 mi).

Diameter

Smaller than Pluto; estimated to be between 1,300 km and 1,900 km (808 miles to 1,181 miles)

Mass

Estimated to be 3 x 1021 kg (6.6 x 1021 lbs) The mass is difficult to determine because Makemake has no moon.

Orbital period around the Sun

310 Earth years (113,150 Earth days)

Number of moons

0

Distinguishing features

Makemake was discovered in March 2005 and is classified as a dwarf planet, the fourth to attain this designation. Its color is reddish-brown, and it has no atmosphere. The dwarf planet's surface may be covered in frozen methane. It is named after the god of fertility in Rapanui (Easter Island) mythology.

[Left] Makemake is shown in this Hubble Space Telescope image. Note: The cross-shaped spikes extending from Makemake are not part of the dwarf planet, but are produced within the telescope's imaging system. [Right] This artist's conception of the largest known Kuiper Belt objects includes Makemake.

Enlarge Image

Description

"Fast Facts: Dwarf planet, Makemake" is a table that lists Makemake's age, location, average distance from the Sun, diameter, mass, orbital period around the Sun, number of moons, and distinguishing features. An image of the dwarf planet is included.

Printer-friendly web page
Adaptable, at teachers discretion
How to use in the classroom

Use this resource as:

A source of information. Read the table to find out about this object.

A reading activity. Give each student a planet-themed Fast Facts table. Ask students to locate specific object characteristics, such as the number of moons or the diameters of their respective planets.

A large-number recognition and ordering activity. Have students review several planet Fast Fact tables, including this one. Have students read the tables to find each planet's distance from the Sun. Then ask them to arrange the planets according to their distance from the Sun, from closest to farthest. Students also can arrange the planets according to their mass and/or diameter, from smallest to largest.

A unit conversion activity. Have students change the distances in either kilometers or miles into astronomical units. One astronomical unit (AU) is the average distance from Earth to the Sun, which equals 149,600,000 km, or 92,960,000 miles.

A compare/contrast activity. Have students review several Fast Facts tables for planets. Students match the planets to statements that describe a unique feature of each planet, such as: This planet is closest to the sun, or this is the largest known dwarf planet. Either the teacher or the students can generate the statements using information from the Fast Facts. Students also can create graphic organizers comparing the features of planets and dwarf planets.

An inquiry tool. Have students write down questions they would like answered about the image and the information in the Fast Facts table.

An engagement tool. Involve students in a discussion.

 

Related materials

Amazing Space resources by topic: Solar system

HubbleSite: Press releases on Kuiper Belt Objects