Distant Dwarf Planet Is Icy And Has No Atmosphere

WASHINGTON (November 21, 2012)--Pluto's icy more distant sister seems even more alien than first thought because it doesn't have an atmosphere, scientists say.

Scientists gained that bit of new knowledge about the dwarf planet Makemake by measuring light from data gathered by several large telescopes.

Researchers reported 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 the solar system beyond Neptune.

In fact it’s so far from the sun its temperature is about 400 degrees below zero, which would be akin to trying to get warmth from a 100-watt light bulb 33 feet away.

The dwarf planet was discovered in 2005.

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