Demorphos asteroid has 10,000 km tail of debris after DART crash

Two days after the collision, astronomers at Lowell Observatory and the US Naval Academy captured this image of Demorphos using the 4.1-meter Southern Astrophysical Research Telescope (SOAR) at the Cerro Tololo Pan American Observatory at NOIRLab in Chile. It shows a broad dust path being pushed in one direction by the pressure of the Sun’s radiation, similar to what happens with a comet’s tail.

“It’s amazing how we were able to capture the structure and the extent of the ramifications of that in the days after the impact,” Teddy Caretta said in a press release. Carita is an astronomer at Lowell Observatory in Arizona. Using the distance of Dimorphos from Earth at the time of observation, astronomers estimate that the tail is 10,000 km long.

The next phase of work for the DART team now begins as they analyze their data and observations by our team and other observers around the world who participated in the study of this exciting event. We plan to use SOAR to monitor ejaculation in the coming weeks and months. Matthew Knight, in a press release, said the combination of SOAR and AEON is just what is needed for effective follow-up to evolving events like this one. Knight is an astronomer at the United States Naval Academy.

Such observations will help scientists understand more about the nature of Dimorphos, how much material was ejected from the collapse, how quickly it was ejected and the sizes of particles in the dust cloud. Scientists will analyze this information to better understand the outcome of the collision and whether it was successful in modifying the asteroid’s orbit.


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