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Worlds without end: Astronomers have discovered a moon orbiting Makemake, the fouth largest object in the Kuiper Belt.
A nearly edge-on orbital configuration helped it evade detection, placing it deep within the glare of the icy dwarf during a substantial fraction of its orbit. Makemake is one of the largest and brightest known Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs), second only to Pluto. The moon is likely less than 100 miles wide while its parent dwarf planet is about 870 miles across. Discovered in 2005, Makemake is shaped like football and sheathed in frozen methane.
Tracking this moon’s orbit will help astronomers get a better understanding of Makemake itself, whose oblong shape has baffled them since its discovery.