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Dwarf Planets - Ceres and Pluto Asteroids - Also known as Planetoids
Dwarf Planets - Eris, Haumea and Makemake - Physical Geography
4302    Dibyendu Banerjee & Sudipta Banerjee    06/03/2018


Eris was first spotted in 2003 and the discovery was confirmed in January 2005. At first it was submitted as a possible 10th planet of our solar system, but finally Pluto, Eris and other similar objects were classified as dwarf planets. As Eris is too small and too far to see clearly, scientists used its tiny moon Dysnomia to measure it.

eris planet
Eris Planet

Though Eris, like Pluto, is smaller than the Earth's Moon, all the Asteroids in the Asteroid Belt would easily fit inside it. The icy Eris takes 557 Earth years to complete a single orbit around our sun. It so far from the sun that its atmosphere just collapses and freezes on the surface in the glaze of ice. The coating gleams and dazzles. It reflects as much sunlight as freshly fallen snow. It is considered that its surface temperatures vary from about -217º C to -243º C. The Scientists believe that, similar to Pluto, the thin atmosphere of Eris will thaw in hundreds of years, as Eris gets closer to the sun and a rocky surface will be revealed.



This unique shaped Dwarf Planet was discovered in 2003. It is one of the fastest rotating large objects in our solar system, which completes a turn on its axis every four hours. Probably a massive collision, billions of years ago, is responsible for the super rapid rotational spin of Haumea.

Haumea is considered as unique because of its ellipsoid shape, only just meeting the hydrostatic equilibrium criteria for the Dwarf Planet status. Its rapid rotational spin is responsible for the elongated shape of the dwarf planet. Like Pluto and Eris, Haumea orbits our Sun in the Kuiper Belt, a distant zone of icy objects beyond the orbit of Neptune. It takes 285 Earth years for Haumea to make one orbit around our sun.

It is considered that Haumea is a made of rock with a coating of ice. Haumea is the only object in the Kuiper belt other than Pluto known to host more than one moon.


make make planet
make make planet

Makemake, pronounced as mah-kee-mah-kee, was first observed in March 2005. It is the fourth body identified as a dwarf planet, and is one of the bodies that caused Pluto to lose its status as a planet. Makemake is smaller than both Pluto and Eris. However, it is larger than Ceres. Makemake has a diameter between 1,300 km and 1,900 km and it has no atmosphere. Probably due to a layer of methane on its surface, it looks reddish-brown. Signs of frozen ethane and frozen nitrogen have also been determined. It spins on its axis once every 22.5 hours and it takes approximately 310 Earth-years to circle the sun. In 1915, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has spotted a small, dark moon orbiting Makemake, However, it was named three years after its discovery in 2008. It was named after the god of fertility in Rapa Nui mythology. The Rapa Nui live on Easter Island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean.

Dwarf Planets - Ceres and Pluto Asteroids - Also known as Planetoids
Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee & Sudipta Banerjee
Article by Dibyendu Banerjee, an Ex-student of Scottish Church College, Kolkata. Authored several novels in Bengali and translated into Bengali novels/short stories of eminent writers of the world. Regularly contributes articles to different web sites on different subjects. Edited by Sudipta Banerjee, educated at Loreto House, Kolkata. Completed her B.A [Hons] in Geography and M.A from Presidency College, Kolkata, B.Ed from the Institution of Education for Women, Hasting House, Kolkata. Taught for 38 years, as Middle School Mistress at Victoria Boys’ School, Kuseong and as Asstt Teacher in Geography at Multipurpose Govt Girls’ School, Kolkata.
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29/04/2022: Haumea looks nice, I may visit it soon, tidy.
By: Emperor Zonk [emperorzonk@cosmos.com]
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