Lucy Sees Asteroid Dinkinesh in Detail

  • Released Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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On November 1, 2023, NASA’s Lucy spacecraft flew by the main-belt asteroid Dinkinesh, using the encounter to test Lucy’s ability to track and image asteroids at high speed. Now, the mission has released pictures from Lucy’s Long Range Reconnaissance Imager taken over a roughly three-hour period, providing the best views of the asteroid to date. During the flyby, Lucy discovered that Dinkinesh has a small moon, which the mission named “Selam” – a greeting in the Amharic language meaning “peace.” Dinkinesh is the smallest main-belt asteroid ever encountered by a spacecraft, and may have ejected the material that now forms Selam.

Time-lapse movie of Lucy’s encounter with asteroid Dinkinesh and its satellite, Selam. These images were taken with the L’LORRI instrument during the approximately three hours around closest approach.

Credit: NASA/Goddard/SwRI/Johns Hopkins APL

By using image pairs taken in rapid succession from different angles during the high-speed encounter, the stereoscopic movies below can give a better sense of the 3D nature of both Dinkinesh and Selam than the still images alone. Some people may be able to view the images without special equipment, either by crossing their eyes until the images overlap while viewing the cross-eye version, or by relaxing their eyes until the images overlap while viewing the straight version. Some people may find it easier to view the movies with either red-blue stereoscopic glasses or a stereoscope.

The Dinkinesh stereo movie was taken between 9 minutes before and 24 minutes after the encounter. The Selam stereo movie was taken between 4.5 minutes before and 0.5 minutes before the encounter. All images have been sharpened by a process called deconvolution. Lucy is the first mission designed to visit the Jupiter Trojans, two swarms of asteroids trapped in Jupiter’s orbit that may be “fossils” from the era of planet formation.

Stereo images of asteroid Dinkinesh – cross-eye version.Credit: NASA/Goddard/SwRI/Johns Hopkins APL/NOIRLab/Brian May/Claudia Manzoni

Stereo images of asteroid Dinkinesh – cross-eye version.

Credit: NASA/Goddard/SwRI/Johns Hopkins APL/NOIRLab/Brian May/Claudia Manzoni

Stereo images of Selam – cross-eye version.Credit: NASA/Goddard/SwRI/Johns Hopkins APL/NOIRLab/Brian May/Claudia Manzoni

Stereo images of Selam – cross-eye version.

Credit: NASA/Goddard/SwRI/Johns Hopkins APL/NOIRLab/Brian May/Claudia Manzoni

Stereo images of asteroid Dinkinesh – straight version.Credit: NASA/Goddard/SwRI/Johns Hopkins APL/NOIRLab/Brian May/Claudia Manzoni

Stereo images of asteroid Dinkinesh – straight version.

Credit: NASA/Goddard/SwRI/Johns Hopkins APL/NOIRLab/Brian May/Claudia Manzoni

Stereo images of Selam – straight version.Credit: NASA/Goddard/SwRI/Johns Hopkins APL/NOIRLab/Brian May/Claudia Manzoni

Stereo images of Selam – straight version.

Credit: NASA/Goddard/SwRI/Johns Hopkins APL/NOIRLab/Brian May/Claudia Manzoni

Stereo images of asteroid Dinkinesh – red-blue version.

Credit: NASA/Goddard/SwRI/Johns Hopkins APL/NOIRLab/Brian May/Claudia Manzoni

Time-lapse movie of Lucy’s encounter with asteroid Dinkinesh and its satellite, Selam, as seen by Lucy’s Terminal Tracking Camera (T2CAM).Credit: NASA/Goddard/SWRI/ASU/MSSS.

Time-lapse movie of Lucy’s encounter with asteroid Dinkinesh and its satellite, Selam, as seen by Lucy’s Terminal Tracking Camera (T2CAM).

Credit: NASA/Goddard/SWRI/ASU/MSSS.

Time-lapse movie of Lucy’s encounter with asteroid Dinkinesh and its satellite, Selam, as seen by Lucy’s T2CAM – annotated version.Credit: NASA/Goddard/SWRI/ASU/MSSS.

Time-lapse movie of Lucy’s encounter with asteroid Dinkinesh and its satellite, Selam, as seen by Lucy’s T2CAM – annotated version.

Credit: NASA/Goddard/SWRI/ASU/MSSS.

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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Release date

This page was originally published on Wednesday, May 29, 2024.
This page was last updated on Thursday, May 30, 2024 at 4:55 PM EDT.


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