SOAR telescope observing Dimorph after collision with DART spacecraft

(ORDO NEWS) — The DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) spacecraft deliberately crashed into the asteroid Dimorph, a satellite of the asteroid Didyma, on September 26, 2022.

This was the first planetary defense test in which scientists tried to change the orbit of an asteroid.

Two days after the impact, astronomers used the 4.1-meter telescope of the Southern Astrophysical Research Center (SOAR) at the Cerro Tololo Observatory in Chile to capture a huge column of dust and debris erupting from the asteroid to the surface.

“Now the next phase of the DART team’s work begins as they analyze their data and the observations of our team and other observers around the world who participated in the study of this exciting event,” said Matthew Knight, an astronomer. “We plan to use SOAR to monitor the release in the coming weeks and months.”

These observations will allow researchers to gain knowledge about the nature of the Dimorph’s surface and find out how much material was ejected as a result of the collision, and at what speed it was ejected.

Also, scientists will be able to study the distribution of particle sizes in an expanding dust cloud. The analysis of this information will help protect the Earth and its inhabitants in the future.

The Vera K. Rubin Observatory, currently under construction in Chile, is scheduled to conduct a census of the solar system to search for potentially hazardous objects.

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