Physical properties of the Didymos system before and after the DART impact

Zhong Yi Lin, Jean Baptiste Vincent, Wing Huen Ip

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9 Scopus citations


Context. On September 26, 2022, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) successfully changed the trajectory of the asteroid Dimorphos (i.e. 65803 Didymos I), a satellite circling (65803) Didymos. Aims. We aim to characterize the consequence of this collision and derive the physical properties of the ejecta features based on ground-based observations in East Asia. Methods. Filtered photometric observations were made between September 21 2022 (~5 days before DART impact) and January 5 2023 using the Lulin 1-m telescope to identify the taxonomy, size, and rotational period of Didymos. The Finson-Probstein dust dynamical models were used to determine the grain sizes (mm- cm) released after the DART impact and the date of the activity. Results. We report a rapid increase in the brightness by about one order of magnitude after the impact, to be followed by a gradual 0.07 mag decrease over the first two weeks producing a relatively shallow brightness slope at the end of October. The size and rotation period at post-impact were 0.7-0.10+0.12 km and 2.27 h, respectively. The Principal Component Index (PCI), relative reflectance, and colors were all classified as S-complex. The Dydimos system became bluer after the collision before returning to its original color. The formation of a comet-like trail containing debris in the anti-sunward direction can be explained by expansion driven by the pressure of solar radiation. A Finson-Probstein modeling approach led to an estimate of the grain size in the mm-cm range. The splitting of the tail into two components is shown in the image acquired on October 12, which may possibly be interpreted as being due to the secondary impact of fallback ejecta about a week after DART.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA116
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2023


  • Asteroids: individual: Didymos
  • Minor planets


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