Hubble Telescope Finds Tiny Moon Orbiting Dwarf Planet

An undated photo provided by NASA and made by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope shows a small, dark moon orbiting Makemake, the second brightest icy dwarf planet, after Pluto, in the Kuiper Belt. This is the first discovery of a companion object to Makemake. The moon, provisionally designated S/2015 (136472) 1 and nicknamed MK 2, is more than 1,300 times fainter than Makemake. (NASA via AP)

An undated photo provided by NASA and made by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope shows a small, dark moon orbiting Makemake, the second brightest icy dwarf planet, after Pluto, in the Kuiper Belt. This is the first discovery of a companion object to Makemake. The moon, provisionally designated S/2015 (136472) 1 and nicknamed MK 2, is more than 1,300 times fainter than Makemake. (NASA via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Chalk up a moon for the icy dwarf planet Makemake.

The Hubble Space Telescope has detected a tiny, dark moon circling the dwarf planet on the frozen fringes of our solar system. Scientists announced the discovery Tuesday. It's the same team that spotted Pluto's smaller moons years ago.

Makemake itself is just 870 miles wide. Its moon — dubbed MK2 — is a mere 100 miles across and more than 1,300 times fainter.

MK2 was found 13,000 miles from Makemake, which is named after the creation deity in the Rapa Nui mythology of Easter Island. Further observations will be needed to determine if MK2's orbit is circular or oval.

By MARCIA DUNN - Apr. 26, 2016 2:07 PM EDT AP

 
 

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