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See detailAlbedo and atmospheric constraints of dwarf planet Makemake from a stellar occultation
Ortiz, J. L.; Sicardy, B.; Braga-Ribas, F. et al

in Nature (2012), 491

Pluto and Eris are icy dwarf planets with nearly identical sizes, comparable densities and similar surface compositions as revealed by spectroscopic studies. Pluto possesses an atmosphere whereas Eris ... [more ▼]

Pluto and Eris are icy dwarf planets with nearly identical sizes, comparable densities and similar surface compositions as revealed by spectroscopic studies. Pluto possesses an atmosphere whereas Eris does not; the difference probably arises from their differing distances from the Sun, and explains their different albedos. Makemake is another icy dwarf planet with a spectrum similar to Eris and Pluto, and is currently at a distance to the Sun intermediate between the two. Although Makemake's size (1,420+/-60km) and albedo are roughly known, there has been no constraint on its density and there were expectations that it could have a Pluto-like atmosphere. Here we report the results from a stellar occultation by Makemake on 2011 April 23. Our preferred solution that fits the occultation chords corresponds to a body with projected axes of 1,430+/-9km (1σ) and 1,502+/-45km, implying a V-band geometric albedo p[SUB]V[/SUB] = 0.77+/-0.03. This albedo is larger than that of Pluto, but smaller than that of Eris. The disappearances and reappearances of the star were abrupt, showing that Makemake has no global Pluto-like atmosphere at an upper limit of 4-12nanobar (1σ) for the surface pressure, although a localized atmosphere is possible. A density of 1.7+/-0.3gcm[SUP]-3[/SUP] is inferred from the data. [less ▲]

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See detailThe stellar occultation by Makemake on 2011 April 23
Ortiz, J. L.; Sicardy, B.; Assafin, M. et al

in EPSC-DPS Joint Meeting 2011, held 2-7 October 2011 in Nantes, France. <A href="http://meetings.copernicus.org/epsc-dps2011">http://meetings.copernicus.org/epsc-dps2011</A>, p.704 (2011, October 01)

We have taken advantage of a stellar occultation by the dwarf planet Makemake on 2011 April 23, to determine several of its main physical properties. We present results from a multisite campaign with 8 ... [more ▼]

We have taken advantage of a stellar occultation by the dwarf planet Makemake on 2011 April 23, to determine several of its main physical properties. We present results from a multisite campaign with 8 positive occultation detections from 5 different sites, including data from the 8-m VLT and 3.5-m NTT telescopes in Chile, which have very high temporal resolution. Because the star was significantly fainter than Makemake (setting a record in the magnitude of a star whose occultation has been detected), the occultation resulted in a drop of just ~0.3 mag in the lightcurves. From the lightcurves we have been able to determine the size and shape of the body, its geometric albedo and constraints on its atmosphere. [less ▲]

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