Two days after the DART probe hit Teddy Karet's asteroid astronomer at Lowell and Matthew Knight at the United States Naval Academy, they observed a huge plume of dust and debris dropped from the surface of Didimos.
Scientists used the 4.1-metre-long Southern Astrophysical Research Telescope at the Cerro-Tollo NSF NOIRLab Inter-American Observatory in Chile, and the new image shows a dust trail, a release offset by solar irradiation. It is not much different from the comet's tail and extends from the center to the right edge of the field of vision.
"It's amazing how clearly we were able to capture the structure and magnitude of the effects in the first days after the impact," noted one astronomer, and scientists are planning to continue using SOAR to monitor emissions in the coming weeks and months.
They will allow scientists to learn more about the nature of the surface of Dimorphos, how much was released in the impact, how quickly it happened, and how much particle sizes were distributed in the expanding dust cloud.