Scientists discover dwarf planet 'Makemake' sans atmosphere
The team's new observations add much more detail to the view of Makemake - determining its size more accurately, putting constraints on a possible atmosphere and estimating the dwarf planet's density for the first time.
They have also allowed the astronomers to measure how much of the Sun's light Makemake's surface reflects - its albedo.
Makemake's albedo, at about 0.77, is comparable to that of dirty snow, higher than that of Pluto, but lower than that of Eris.
It was only possible to observe Makemake in such detail because it passed in front of a star - an event known as a stellar occultation.
Occultations are particularly uncommon in the case of Makemake, because it moves in an area of the sky with relatively few stars. Accurately predicting and detecting these rare events is extremely difficult.
"Pluto, Eris and Makemake are among the larger examples of the numerous icy bodies orbiting far away from our Sun," said Jose Luis Ortiz.
"Our new observations have greatly improved our knowledge of one of the biggest, Makemake - we will be able to use this information as we explore the intriguing objects in this region of space further," Jose Luis Ortiz added.
Makemake is one of five dwarf planets so far recognised by the International Astronomical Union. The others are Ceres, Pluto, Haumea and Eris.