Space agencies published photos and animation of DART collision with asteroid Dimorph
NASA and the Italian Space Agency (ASI) published images taken by the Italian satellite LICIACube at the time of the collision of the probe DART with the asteroid Dimorph. The satellite managed to capture a bright flash at the moment of impact and a fan of fragments. In one of the images you can see the uneven surface of the asteroid.
The Italian space agency’s Light Italian CubeSat went into space on board the DART probe last November as a “mini-photographer.” The CubeSat separated from DART on September 11. The spacecraft carries two cameras, one with a wide and one with a narrow field of view. This system captured a bright flash at the moment of Dimorph’s collision with the DART probe and a plume of debris, as well as features of the asteroid’s surface. ASI specialists combined the photos into a short animation that shows the change in brightness of the asteroid as a result of the impact.
As for the main purpose of the DART mission, which was to change the course of the asteroid, its results have yet to be evaluated. Within a few months, LICIACube satellite and ground observatories will observe Dimorph and measure its orbit, which is expected to be reduced by a few minutes.
In addition, the European Space Agency will launch another spacecraft to the dual asteroid system in 2024 to study the effects of the DART impact at close range.
Earlier, the international network of telescopes of the Keldysh Institute for Applied Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Sciences presented several images of the impact of DART with Dimorph. The data were collected using the ISON-Kitab observatory located in Uzbekistan. According to the scientists, immediately after the incident, the asteroid’s brightness increased 7.5 times, and an hour after the incident decreased by 2 times.