Hubble sees boulders escaping from asteroid Dimorphos

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of the asteroid Dimorphos was taken on 19 December 2022, nearly four months after the asteroid was impacted by NASA’s DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission. Hubble’s sensitivity reveals a few dozen boulders knocked off the asteroid by the force of the collision. These are among the faintest objects Hubble has ever photographed inside the Solar System. The ejected boulders range in size from 1 metre to 6.7 metres across, based on Hubble photometry. They are drifting away from the asteroid at around a kilometre per hour. The discovery yields invaluable insights into the behaviour of a small asteroid when it is hit by a projectile for the purpose of altering its trajectory.

[Image Description: The bright white object at lower left is the asteroid Dimorphos. It has a blue dust tail extending diagonally to the upper right. A cluster of blue dots surrounds the asteroid. These are boulders that were knocked off the asteroid when, on 26 September 2022, NASA deliberately slammed the half-tonne DART impactor spacecraft into the asteroid as a test of what it would take to deflect some future asteroid from hitting Earth. Hubble photographed the slow-moving boulders in December 2022.]


NASA, ESA, D. Jewitt (UCLA)

About the Image

Release date:20 July 2023, 16:00
Related releases:heic2307
Size:1505 x 1338 px

About the Object

Category:Solar System

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Long Pass
350 nm Hubble Space Telescope

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