“Never Mind”—“Gamma Ray Burst” From Remote Galaxy Turns Out To Be Flash From Space Junk

Detection of an apparent gamma ray burst in the act of occurring in a galaxy at redshift 11, indicating we are observing it as it was just 420 million years after the big bang was reported in the paper “A possible bright ultraviolet flash from a galaxy at redshift z ~ 11” in December 2020. “Not so fast” responded other astronomers, in the paper “A more probable explanation for a continuum flash in the direction of a redshift ≈ 11 galaxy” and elsewhere, pointing out the extreme improbability of such an observation and the far more likely explanation that it was a transient due to reflection from an orbiting satellite or space junk. Now the case has been closed with the publication of “GN-z11-flash was a signal from a man-made satellite not a gamma-ray burst at redshift 11” which identifies the flash as a glint of sunlight from a derelict Breeze-M upper stage from a Russian Proton rocket in a highly elliptical orbit.

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