NASA DART asteroid defense test: 10 photos captured by skygazers

LOS ANGELES — NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission has officially begun.

>> PHOTOS: NASA launches DART spacecraft to test asteroid defense concept

According to The Associated Press, the agency launched its DART spacecraft late Tuesday from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Scientists are purposely trying to crash the craft into the Dimorphos asteroid to see if such a collision could alter a space rock’s trajectory.

>> RELATED STORY: NASA to launch test of system aimed at knocking asteroids off their path

“DART’s target asteroid is NOT a threat to Earth,” NASA’s website says of the mission. “This asteroid system is a perfect testing ground to see if intentionally crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid is an effective way to change its course, should an Earth-threatening asteroid be discovered in the future.”

Skygazers took to social media to share their photos of Tuesday night’s launch with the hashtags #NASA, #SpaceX and #DART. Here are some of our favorites:

>> Read more trending news

1. @keeplookingup247, Instagram

2. @jadenschaul, Instagram

3. @sage_rider, Instagram

4. @shaunsational, Instagram

5. @jpiccari, Instagram

6. @matt_dahle, Instagram

7. @esmith_images, Instagram

8. @jmselbrede_photo, Instagram

9. @camirwinning, Instagram

10. @melodieouss, Instagram

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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