When NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft slammed into an asteroid on purpose last September, many telescopes were trained on this one-of-a-kind celestial event. Some were operated by teams of amateur astronomers — skilled skywatchers for whom astronomy is not their full-time day job (or, more accurately, night job). Three such teams on France’s Réunion island in the Indian Ocean, plus one in Nairobi, managed to watch the impact in real time.
These skywatchers are among the authors of a study in Nature that describes how the asteroid, named Dimorphos, became temporarily brighter and redder as the spacecraft hit it1. One of five papers about the impact published in Nature