Evolution of the cloud of debris around Dimorphos and Didymos after the DART impact

This series of images, taken with the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, shows the evolution of the cloud of debris that was ejected when NASA’s DART spacecraft collided with the asteroid Dimorphos.

The first image was taken on 26 September 2022, just before the impact, and the last one was taken almost one month later on 25 October. Over this period several structures developed: clumps, spirals, and a long tail of dust pushed away by the Sun’s radiation. The white arrow in each panel marks the direction of the Sun.

Dimorphos orbits a larger asteroid called Didymos. The white horizontal bar corresponds to 500 kilometres, but the asteroids are only 1 kilometre apart, so they can’t be discerned in these images.

The background streaks seen here are due to the apparent movement of the background stars during the observations while the telescope was tracking the asteroid pair.


ESO/Opitom et al.

About the Image

Release date:21 March 2023, 14:00
Related releases:eso2303
Size:2580 x 2684 px

About the Object

Name:Didymos, Dimorphos
Type:Solar System : Interplanetary Body : Asteroid
Category:Solar System

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