Makemake- the largest Cubewano! Image: Wikipedia.

Makemake- the largest Cubewano! Image: Wikipedia.

Happy May!

Today, we'll look at what in the world is a cubewano! Pronounced que-bee-one-oh!

Actually, the very first of its kind was named QB1-o, and the category is rather a nickname. These objects are "classical Kuiper Belt Objects" which orbits outside of Neptune, but have no resonance with Neptune (orbital resonance means having a gravitational balance in rotation). 

Orbits of some cubewanos in respect to Neptune's orbit (blue) and Pluto's orbit (pink). Image: Wikipedia

Orbits of some cubewanos in respect to Neptune's orbit (blue) and Pluto's orbit (pink). Image: Wikipedia

For example, Haumea was considered to be a cubewano in 2006, but further studies found it to be in resonance with Neptune. Now it's a dwarf planet. 

Makemake is a dwarf planet AND the largest cubewano!

Cubewano orbits are very inclined, just like Pluto. Which means, the ice surfaces would have extreme sublimation changes and most certainly cratered. Low inclinations are considered the "cold" population whereas the higher inclinations are the "hot" population (they can get closer to the Sun as near as Neptune can!)

As of 2014, there are 473 objects considered to be cubewanos!

Thank you for reading and come back next week on some amazing feats of Cassini!