Images from Italian satellites and ground telescopes show the moment the DART spacecraft crashed into the asteroid Dimorphos and the impact that followed.
Didymos and Dimorphos shortly after colliding with the DART ship as seen from the LUKE camera
Didymos and Dimorphos shortly after colliding with the DART ship as seen from the LUKÐ camera of the LICIACube satellite. (Photo: NASA).
On September 27, the Italian space agency announced the first photos of spacecraft Ultralight cubesat satellite specialized in imaging exoplanets (LICIACube). This series of images was transmitted to Earth approximately 3 hours later DART (Dual Asteroid Redirection Test) spacecraft of NASA successfully crashed into the Dimorphos target approximately 11 million km from Earth. The photos include a comparison of the Didymos asteroid system before and after the impact, as well as photos of glowing debris around Dimorphos.
According to Elisabetta Dotto, scientific team leader at the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF), these photos are important in helping scientists understand the structure and composition of Dimorphos. Dotto shared that in addition to the first two photos, the number of LICCIcube photos that the team will announce in the coming days is also very promising.
Before the event, scientists weren’t sure what the asteroid would do after the collision. The LICIACube image shows Dimorphos was completely covered by the cloud of dust and debris created by the DART crash.
NASA’s DART mission crashed into Dimorphos, a small asteroid orbiting a larger asteroid named Didymos, to test how to adjust the Earth-threatening body’s orbit. Currently, astronomers are closely monitoring the Didymos system, ready to measure changes in Dimorphos’ orbit. This is the data NASA needs to determine the success of the DART mission.
Satellite LICIACube flew with the DART spacecraft and separated on September 11. LICIACube performed two camera tests with several targets, including Earth and the Pleiades star cluster. LICIACube Explorer Imaging Asteroid Camera (LEIA) can take high-resolution photos but can only take black and white photos, while the LIACube Unit Key Explorer (LUKE) camera integrates a red – green – blue filter and has a wider field of view.
On September 26, LICIACube flew a safe distance when the DART train accelerated and crashed in the collision zone 3 minutes later. LICIACube also photographed the dark area of Dimorphos opposite the area where the DART train crashed. Currently, the ship is flying in deep space and slowly sending images back to Earth.
ATLAS watched as the DART train crashed into Dimorphos. (Video: Project ATLAS).
Telescopes on Earth also take pictures “Suicide” of the DART spacecraft in deep space. Observations by the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) in Hawaii showed that the Didymos binary system brightened significantly at the time of impact. Immediately afterwards, a giant shell of matter erupted from the asteroid Dimorphos.
One of the 1m telescopes at the Las Cumbres Observatory in South Africa also revealed a similar story from another angle. DART crashed into Dimorphos moving left to right in the frame instead of right to left as shown in the ATLAS photo.
Asteroid Dimorphos 170 m and sister body Didymos (780 m) not a threat to Earth. But data from the test will show the effectiveness of the dynamic collision technique, supporting future efforts to redirect dangerous asteroids. Many other ground-based telescopes around the world will soon begin monitoring the Didmos system.
Article source: VnExpress
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Images from Italian satellites and ground-based telescopes capture the moment the DART spacecraft crashed into the asteroid Dimorphos and the impact that followed.