Among other news from the National Aeronautics and Space administration (NASA) like the asteroid that is expected to impact Earth on Valentine’s Day 2046, is the new Hubble movie that captured a collision.
The Hubble Space Telescope or HST is a space telescope that was launched into the Earth’s orbit in 1990. It is made as a tool to make several observations in the outer space. Over time, Hubble has taken over a million pictures of planets, stars, and galaxies etc. that have helped scientists to understand the space better. It has also successfully managed to record the birth and death of stars, comet pieces crashing into Jupiter’s atmosphere, and much more.
NASA releases a time-lapse of the DART impact
On September 26, 2022, a 1200-ton spacecraft called DART deliberately hit an asteroid in space, Dimorphos, under NASA’s directions. Then in the beginning of March 2023, NASA released a time-lapse video of the pictures captured by its Hubble telescope of this collision. Apparently this Hubble movie captured the aftermath of DART’s collision down to every speck of dust and debris flung into space. NASA said that this movie offers invaluable clues on how the debris was scattered in complex patterns after the collision. They also added that the motive behind this DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission was to test our ability to change the trajectory of an asteroid before it impacts Earth.
What does the Hubble movie show?
This particular time-lapse video by NASA shows the impact down to every detail. It depicts the aftermath of the collision in three stages: the formation of an ejecta cone, the spiral swirl of debris caught up along the asteroid’s orbit about its companion asteroid, and the tail swept behind the asteroid by the pressure of sunlight, resembling a windsock caught in a breeze. In a statement made by NASA, they said that the movie begins approximately 1.3 hours after the impact.
Various experts all over the world are already studying this movie in order to determine what exactly is going on in it. It has also been published in the journal Nature.