Characterization of the Ejecta from the NASA/DART Impact on Dimorphos: Observations and Monte Carlo Models

Moreno, Fernando; Bagatin, Adriano Campo; Tancredi, Gonzalo; Li, Jian-Yang; Rossi, Alessandro; Ferrari, Fabio; Hirabayashi, Masatoshi; Fahnestock, Eugene; Maury, Alain; Sandness, Robert; Rivkin, Andrew S.; Cheng, Andy; Farnham, Tony L.; Soldini, Stefania; Giordano, Carmine; Merisio, Gianmario; Panicucci, Paolo; Pugliatti, Mattia; Castro-Tirado, Alberto J.; Fernández-García, Emilio; Pérez-García, ignacio; Ivanovski, Stavro; Penttila, Antti; Kolokolova, Ludmilla; Licandro, Javier; Muñoz, Olga; Gray, Zuri; Ortiz, Jose L.; Lin, Zhong-Yi
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The Planetary Science Journal

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The NASA Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft successfully crashed on Dimorphos, the secondary component of the binary (65803) Didymos system. Following the impact, a large dust cloud was released, and a long-lasting dust tail developed. We have extensively monitored the dust tail from the ground and the Hubble Space Telescope. We provide a characterization of the ejecta dust properties, i.e., particle size distribution and ejection speeds, ejection geometric parameters, and mass, by combining both observational data sets and using Monte Carlo models of the observed dust tail. The size distribution function that best fits the imaging data is a broken power law having a power index of -2.5 for particles of r ≤ 3 mm and -3.7 for larger particles. The particles range in size from 1 μm up to 5 cm. The ejecta is characterized by two components, depending on velocity and ejection direction. The northern component of the double tail, observed since 2022 October 8, might be associated with a secondary ejection event from impacting debris on Didymos, although is also possible that this feature results from the binary system dynamics alone. The lower limit to the total dust mass ejected is estimated at ~6 × 106 kg, half of this mass being ejected to interplanetary space.
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