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Dimorphos has become a comet-like plume

More than a week ago, the world’s first asteroid-shifting experiment was conducted, which we also reported, now let’s talk about the further fate of the orb!

Since the time of the impact, it has also been visible from here on Earth, and the size of the cloud of material leaving the surface of the young planet has since been monitored by both specialists and many amateurs with appropriately sized telescopes. After the impact of the DART spacecraft, the asteroid became a “comet” for a while, and the celestial body grew a very amazing plume. This note has been reported by NOIRLaban observatory system operated by the US National Science Foundation.

This time, the change in Dimorphos was monitored with a 4.1-meter SOAR telescope operating at the Chilean site, and based on the recording taken two days after the impact, it was calculated that the resulting plume currently extends more than ten thousand kilometers beyond the asteroid. Controlled by solar radiation pressure, the column is similar to real comets and, based on recording spectroscopy, is 3.1 arcminutes long.

The next stage in observing Dimorphos will be the use of several measurements to determine how much its orbit around Didymos is skewed as a result of the impact. Using the SOAR telescope, they will track the fate of the ejected material, the evolution of the “pillar”, for weeks and months.

Based on these observations, it will be possible to calculate the amount of material and the speed that has left the surface of the Dimorphos, and it will also be possible to deduce the properties of the surface itself. We will be able to know the composition of the “pillar”, and the particle size distribution in it, that is, whether the impact of the DART spacecraft released larger pieces or fine dust particles. Analysis of all this information can be used in the event of a possible sharp spread, when an asteroid speeding towards Earth needs to divert its course.

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