Dart’s collision with asteroid Dimorphos has created a twin trail

About one to two weeks after NASA's Dart spacecraft hit asteroid Dimorphos, scientists observed the development of two trails in this space rock.

BingMag.com Dart’s collision with asteroid Dimorphos has created a twin trail

About one to two weeks after NASA's Dart spacecraft hit asteroid Dimorphos, scientists observed the development of two trails in this space rock.

The Dual Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission will target the small asteroid Dimorphos on September 26 (AM, October 5) to test a potential Earth protection technique. Within two days, the sun's radiation pressure formed the remnants of the impact like a comet into a tail about 10,000 kilometers long.

Now a new image recorded by the Hubble Space Telescope shows which is not one, but two sequences out of Dimorphos. According to the statement of the European Space Agency, if we consider the asteroid itself as the center of a clock, the Dart spacecraft entered at 10 o'clock. The bright lines at 1, 7, and 10 o'clock are not collision remnants, but Hubble optical diffraction. But two trails are seen very close and around 2 and 3 o'clock.

According to NASA, the second trail was created between October 2 and 8 (October 10 and 16). Hubble has observed this asteroid 18 times since the impact. Astronomers have seen similar twin tails in comets before, so this new collision sequence is not surprising. But scientists still aren't sure exactly how the second tail formed.

The fact that Dimorphos lost enough material to form such a large tail actually shows the severity of the impact. The main purpose of the Dart mission was to measure the shortening of the orbit of the asteroid Dimorphos around the larger asteroid "Dydimos".

According to the predictions, the impact of the Dart spacecraft should shorten the orbit of Dimorphos, which was originally 11 hours and 55 minutes, by 73 Seconds were getting shorter. Although scientists had estimated this amount to tens of minutes before the collision. But the research showed that this change of orbit was more than expected and was shortened to 32 minutes.

Cover photo: The wake of Dart hitting Dimorphos as seen by Hubble
Credit: NASA, ESA , STScI, Jian-Yang Li (PSI); Image Processing: Joseph DePasquale

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *