Lucy Observations of the DART Impact Event

H. A. Weaver, J. M. Sunshine, C. M. Ernst, T. L. Farnham, S. Mottola, J. R. Spencer, S. Marchi, N. Dello Russo, O. Barnouin, H. F. Levison, K. S. Noll, C. B. Olkin, T. S. Statler, A. F. Cheng, E. G. Fahnestock, A. Fitzsimmons, M. M. Knight, J. Y. Li, N. A. Moskovitz, C. A. ThomasN. L. Chabot, A. S. Rivkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The Lucy LOng Range Reconnaissance Imager (L LORRI) took 1549 images of the Didymos-Dimorphos binary system, starting 12 hr before the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) impact event on 2022 September 26 and ending 24 hr after it. The Lucy imaging campaign provided pre-impact monitoring of the baseline brightness of the Didymos system, as well as intensive 1 s cadence imaging starting 3 minutes prior to impact and extending until 4 minutes after impact, and then continued monitoring at increasing cadences and image exposure times to measure the Didymos system brightness changes produced by ejecta released during the impact. One of the L LORRI images encompassed the exact time when the DART spacecraft impacted Dimorphos, but there is no evidence of a thermally generated optical flash in the image. L LORRI observed a shell of fast-moving ejecta, and we derive a range of projected speeds (∼0.26-3.6 km s-1) for that material. The much slower moving ejecta (≲1 m s-1) stayed within a single L LORRI pixel for the entire duration of the Lucy-DART program. We find that the slow ejecta were responsible for 57.4% 2.2% of the total post-impact brightness increase measured by L LORRI, while the fast ejecta were responsible for 42.6% 2.3% of the post-impact brightness increase. The initial brightness increase relative to the pre-impact Didymos system brightness was significantly smaller for L LORRI compared to that measured by some ground-based observers, which is plausibly explained by differences in phase angles and different responses to sodium emission depending on the camera spectral bandwidths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number43
JournalPlanetary Science Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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