The asteroid Dimorphos released two tails after the impact of the DART mission
On September 27, NASA carried out the collision between the DART mission and the asteroid Dimorphos. As an objective, this activity was intended to divert the trajectory of the asteroid, which it achieved and demonstrated days later.
Since the impact, some of the Dimorphos material has also been known to break off of the space rock in a tail, much like a comet . The SOAR space telescope observed that two days after the collision, debris had been dislodged, occupying a line of more than 10,000 kilometers of debris.
However, now this version of the comet created by Dimorphos has evolved and there are two dust tails ejected from the asteroid . This can be seen in the image taken by the NASA and ESA Hubble Space Telescope, which has been tracking and documenting the lingering aftermath of the DART mission on the asteroid.
In the weeks after the impact, Hubble’s 18 observations have allowed scientists to present a more complete picture of how asteroid Dimorphos and the debris cloud it leaves in its wake have evolved.
The photos show that the material ejected from the rock has expanded in a line and dimmed over time, just as astronomers expected. However, the images show that there are two tails instead of one: the first formed after the impact and the second, according to the images, between October 2 and 8.
This “twin” tail, as described by the ESA , is considered an “unexpected” development . But this second debris cloud is behaving similarly to the other, and also to how other comets or asteroids evolve.
However, despite what scientists have observed, they still don’t know how this second Dimorphos tail developed. For this reason, in the coming months they will continue to investigate through space telescopes the behavior of the impacted asteroid, as well as the evolution of its two debris tails.