This artist’s impression shows the surface of the distant dwarf planet Makemake. This dwarf planet is about two thirds of the size of Pluto, and travels around the Sun in a distant path that lies beyond that of Pluto, but closer to the Sun than Eris, the most massive known dwarf planet in the Solar System.
The dwarf planet Makemake was observed by SPIRE during the science demonstration phase. This very faint and cold object was detected by making a difference image: by taking images 44 hours apart and subtracting the "before" image from the "after" image, the background sky is removed. Makemake, having moved in the intervening time, appears twice in the resulting image: once as a "negative image" and again as a "positive image".
This diagram shows the path of the shadow of the dwarf planet Makemake during an occultation of a faint star in April 2011, which revealed that it lacked an atmosphere. Several sites in South America, including ESO’s La Silla and Paranal Observatories, saw the star disappear briefly as its light was blocked by Makemake.
Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet status in 2006, joining Eris, Haumea, Makemake and Ceres.
An artist's illustration of Makemake, a dwarf planet out beyond the orbit of Neptune that also qualifies as a plutoid.
An early artist's interpretation of the dwarf planet Makemake beyond Pluto.