Study: Distant dwarf planet has no atmosphere

Pluto's distant sister, Makemake, may only have small pockets of atmosphere made from methane ice turning into gas, scientists theorize.

WASHINGTON — Astronomers say Pluto's icy, more distant sister seems even more alien than thought because it doesn't have an atmosphere.

Scientists gained that bit of new knowledge about the dwarf planet Makemake by measuring light from data gathered by several large telescopes. Researchers report in the journal Nature that the small planet may simply have some pockets of atmosphere from methane ice turning into gas.

Makemake is one of four dwarf planets in our solar system beyond Neptune. It was discovered in 2005.