Space junk foils astronomers observing oldest galaxy in the universe

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rocket

Proton-M rocket with a Breeze-M upper stage

STR/AFP via Getty Images

A flash of light in the night sky, thought to have been a burst from a galaxy in the early universe, may actually have been nothing more than a glint from a piece of space junk.

In December 2020, Linhua Jiang at Peking University in Beijing, China, and his colleagues announced they had seen a brightening event in GN-z11, thought to be the most distant known galaxy in the universe, appearing as it looked 13.4 billion years ago. The event was believed to be a gamma-ray burst, possibly …

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