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NASA Asteroid Crash Leaves 6,000 Miles of Debris, See Pictures

By: Buzz Staff

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Last Updated: October 07, 2022, 11:55 IST

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The breathtaking pictures show a vast trail of debris more than 6,000 miles long as a result of the impact. (Credits:science.nasa.gov)

The breathtaking pictures show a vast trail of debris more than 6,000 miles long as a result of the impact. (Credits:science.nasa.gov)

The breathtaking pictures show a vast trail of debris more than 6,000 miles long as a result of the impact. In the coming days, the trail is expected to get even longer before it completely disperses and turns into dust floating around in space.

Two days after the impact of NASA’s DART mission, the powerful SOAR Telescope in Chile was able to capture images of the dust and debris forming a comet-like plume. The breathtaking pictures show a vast trail of debris more than 6,000 miles long as a result of the impact. In the coming days, the trail is expected to get even longer before it completely disperses and turns into dust floating around in space. Just like comets, the dust trail has been pushed away by the sun’s radiation, expanding from the center to the right-hand edge of the field vision.

According to NOIRLab’s official website, the asteroid Dimorphos’ new trail was imaged by astronomers Teddy Kareta from the Lowell Observatory and Matthew Knight from the US Naval Academy. The images were captured from NOIRLab’s Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. They used the 4.1-meter Southern Astrophysical Research (SOAR) Telescope for this purpose.

Kareta’s statement read, “It is amazing how clearly we were able to capture the structure and extent of the aftermath in the days following the impact.”

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The breathtaking pictures show a vast trail of debris more than 6,000 miles long as a result of the impact. (Credits:science.nasa.gov)
NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is the world’s first planetary defence technology demonstration. It flew 10 months in space after which it successfully impacted its target asteroid on September 26. (Credits: hawaii)

“Now begins the next phase of work for the DART team as they analyze their data and observations by our team and other observers around the world who shared in studying this exciting event,” Knight has added. “We plan to use SOAR to monitor the ejecta in the coming weeks and months. The combination of SOAR and AEON is just what we need for efficient follow-up of evolving events like this one.”

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) is the world’s first planetary defence technology demonstration. It flew 10 months in space after which it successfully impacted its target asteroid on September 26. This makes DART the world’s first attempt to move an asteroid in space.

While asteroid Dimorphos was not a threat to Earth, it was used as a testing ground to observe whether the used method of asteroid deflection – known as the kinetic impactor technique – would be able to protect Earth if an asteroid was on the course of collision with our planet in the future.

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first published:October 07, 2022, 11:55 IST
last updated:October 07, 2022, 11:55 IST