Near-IR Spectral Observations of the Didymos System: Daily Evolution Before and After the DART Impact Indicates that Dimorphos Originated from Didymos

David Polishook, Francesca E. DeMeo, Brian J. Burt, Cristina A. Thomas, Andrew S. Rivkin, Juan A. Sanchez, Vishnu Reddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ejecta from Dimorphos following the DART mission impact significantly increased the brightness of the Didymos-Dimorphos system, allowing us to examine subsurface material. We report daily near-IR spectroscopic observations of the Didymos system using NASA’s IRTF that follow the evolution of the spectral signature of the ejecta cloud over 1 week, from 1 day before the impact. Overall, the spectral features remained fixed (S-type classification) while the ejecta dissipated, confirming that both Didymos and Dimorphos are constructed from the same silicate material. This novel result strongly supports binary asteroid formation models that include the breaking up of a single body due to rotational breakup of kilometer-wide bodies. At impact time +14 and +38 hr, the spectral slope decreased, but the following nights presented an increasing spectral slope that almost returned to the preimpact slope. However, the parameters of the 1 μm band remained fixed, and no “fresh”/Q-type-like spectrum was measured. We interpret this as follows. (1) The ejecta cloud is the main contributor (60%-70%) to the overall light during the ∼40 hr after impact. (2) Coarser debris (≥100 μm) dominated the ejecta cloud, decreasing the spectral slope (after radiation pressure removed the fine grains ≤10 hr after impact). (3) After approximately 1 week, the ejecta cloud dispersed enough to make the fine grains on Didymos’s surface the dominant part of the light, increasing the spectral slope to the preimpact level. (4) A negligible amount of nonweathered material was ejected from Dimorphos’s subsurface, suggesting that Dimorphos was accumulated from weathered material ejected from Didymos’s surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number229
JournalPlanetary Science Journal
Volume4
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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