Every day Telescope: Lucy continues to shock astronomers with its first flyby

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This image shows the asteroid Dinkinesh and its satellite as seen by the Lucy Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (L’LORRI) as NASA’s Lucy Spacecraft departed the system.
Enlarge / This picture reveals the asteroid Dinkinesh and its satellite tv for pc as seen by the Lucy Lengthy-Vary Reconnaissance Imager (L’LORRI) as NASA’s Lucy Spacecraft departed the system.

NASA/Goddard/SwRI/Johns Hopkins APL

Welcome to the Every day Telescope. There’s a little an excessive amount of darkness on this world and never sufficient mild; a little bit an excessive amount of pseudoscience and never sufficient science. We’ll let different publications give you a every day horoscope. At Ars Technica, we will take a special route, discovering inspiration from very actual photographs of a universe that’s full of stars and marvel.

Good morning. It’s November 8, and sure, we’re headed again out to the Lucy mission once more. NASA has shared some extra info about an asteroid flyby final week, and there is extra goodness to share.

A couple of days in the past, the Every day Telescope reported that the Lucy spacecraft had discovered not one however two asteroids throughout its flyby of the small main-belt asteroid Dinkinesh. It seems that was not the entire story. Subsequent information downlinked from the spacecraft revealed that the smaller of the 2 asteroids is a contact binary—two smaller asteroids involved with each other.

Scientists are, to place it mildly, fairly excited.

“Contact binaries appear to be pretty frequent within the photo voltaic system,” mentioned John Spencer, Lucy deputy undertaking scientist, of the Boulder, Colorado, department of the San-Antonio-based Southwest Analysis Institute. “We haven’t seen many up shut, and we’ve by no means seen one orbiting one other asteroid. We’d been puzzling over odd variations in Dinkinesh’s brightness that we noticed on strategy, which gave us a touch that Dinkinesh may need a moon of some kind, however we by no means suspected something so weird!”

You may say they’re over the Moon, however in reality, Lucy is way past the Moon. Nevertheless, the spacecraft is heading again towards Earth for a gravity help subsequent yr. That flyby will propel the spacecraft again by means of the primary asteroid belt, the place it’s going to observe asteroid Donaldjohanson in 2025 after which on to the Trojan asteroids in Jupiter’s orbit in 2027.

Supply: NASA.

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