Tuesday, July 15, 2008

New Dwarf Planet - Makemake

We have a new 'official' fourth dwarf planet, discovered by Cal Tech's Dr. Mike Brown three years ago, the Kuiper Belt Object and plutoid formerly known as 2005 FY9 has been designated Makemake (prenounced makimaki), the creator god of Easter Island mythology. It is the third largest trans-Neptunian object yet discovered after Eris, also discovered by Brown, (the event which led to the new 'dwarf planet classification) and Pluto itself.

"This object was discovered by Mike Brown, Chad Trujillo and David Rainowitz on March 31, 2005, just before Easter that year. They nicknamed it Easterbunny (which is easier to say than 2005 FY9 or 136472) and after tossing a few different names around, they finally came up with Makemake because of its Easter Island, (also known as Rapa Nui) connection.

Makemake is the creator of humanity and the god of fertility in the mythology of the South Pacific island of Rapa Nui. He was the chief god of the Tangata manu bird-man cult and was worshipped in the form of sea birds, which were his incarnation. His material symbol, a man with a bird's head, can be found carved in petroglyphs on the island."

No comments: