Study: Distant dwarf planet has no atmosphere

Study: Distant dwarf planet has no atmosphere

Credit: Getty Images

UNDATED FILE PHOTO: An artist's rendition of the largest object found orbiting the Sun since Pluto was discovered in 1930, is shown October 7, 2002. The object called "Quaoar" was observed by the Hubble Space Telescope and is roughly 800 miles in diameter. Quaoar orbits the Sun at a distance of 4-billion miles in a region of space called the "Kuiper Belt." (Photo by NASA and G. Bacon/Getty Images)

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KMOV.com

Posted on November 21, 2012 at 2:54 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Astronomers say Pluto's icy more distant sister seems even more alien than thought because it doesn't have an atmosphere.

   Scientists gained that bit of new knowledge about the dwarf planet Makemake (MAH'-kay MAH'-kay) by measuring light from data gathered by several large telescopes. Researchers report in the journal Nature that the small planet may simply have some pockets of atmosphere from methane ice turning into gas.

   Makemake is one of four dwarf planets in our solar system beyond Neptune. It is so far from the sun its temperature is about 400 degrees below zero. Scientists compare it to getting warmth from a 100-watt light bulb 33 feet away. It was discovered in 2005.
 

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