A week after the successful DART mission, the hit asteroid, Dimorphos, released a cloud of dust and particles.
What was discovered, however, by telescopes on Earth, is that the debris expelled by the object after the collision created a kind of tail, “turning” Dimorphos into a comet.
The discovery, made less than two days after the impact, was made by the SOAR telescope, located in Chile, then observed by astronomers Teddy Kareta, from Lowell Observatory, in Arizona, and Matthew Knight, from the US Naval Academy. They calculated that the tail is at least 10,000 kilometers long.
Supposedly, the tail is triple. But, even with all these data, it is still not possible to say that Dimorphos “turned” even a comet, because, as it was something created by human action and is not something natural, the tail can dissipate.
It is also worth remembering that NASA is still not sure that DART was 100% successful in its purpose and diverted the asteroid from its original path. It will be necessary to follow up with him in the next few weeks to establish that he really was deviated from his initial path.
In a statement, Kareta said, “It’s amazing how we were able to so clearly capture the structure and scope of the mission days after impact.”
New information will come soon
More data and news like this should be received and compiled in the coming weeks, as many astronomers receive the various information from telescopes and the mission.
It will be possible to know, for example, how much material was ejected by Dimorphos and how much of it is composed of larger pieces and how much is composed of fine sand, according to astronomers.
With information from CNET and UOL
Featured image: NASA
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