Astronomers put forward a hypothesis about the origin of Dimorph

(ORDO NEWS) — The unremarkable asteroids Didymos and Dimorph made headlines as the target of NASA‘s Double Asteroid Redirection (DART) mission.

Recently, astronomers have put forward a hypothesis about how the asteroid Dimorph could have appeared.

It all starts with rotation. Any solid body, if it spins fast enough, will lose some particles as the centrifugal force overcomes gravity.

This is especially true of asteroids, which are not very large to begin with and are only loosely held together.

Recently, a group of astronomers have used this fact to propose a likely mechanism for the formation of Dimorph.

According to their scenario, once upon a time, Didyma spun very hard. This could be due to a glancing collision, or simply too many gravitational interactions with neighbors.

He spun and began to lose weight. The material he lost formed a ring surrounding the asteroid. Initially, this ring had to be in the so-called Roche limit.

In the Roche limit, the gravitational tidal force of the parent body is stronger than the ability of the material orbiting it to be held together. Thus, Dimorph could not form in this area.

But as a result of many interactions, part of the material could migrate beyond the boundaries of the ring and unite there. The material that survived could turn into a small Dimorph.

Astronomers estimate that Didymus must have lost at least 25% of its mass in order to create Dimorph in this way.

This model also predicts Dimorph’s irregular shape because it was created from the slow accumulation of many smaller objects. This is in line with what we are seeing now.


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