Recently Jiang et al. reported the discovery of a possible short duration transient, detected in a single image, spatially associated with a z ∼ 11 galaxy. Jiang et al. and Kann et al. suggested the transient originates from a γ-Ray Burst (GRB), while Padmanabhan & Loeb argued the flash is consistent with a supernova shock breakout event of a 300 M⊙ Population III star. Jiang et al. argued against the possibility that this event originated from light reflected off a satellite. Here we show that reflection of sunlight from a high-orbit satellite or a piece of space debris is a valid and reasonable explanation. As shown in recent works, the rate of point-like satellite reflections, brighter than 11th magnitude, is >10 deg-2 day-1 near the equatorial plane. At higher declinations the rate is 5-50 times lower, but still significant: about four orders of magnitudes higher than the rate estimated for GRBs.
Research Notes of the American Astronomical Society
- Pub Date:
- February 2021
- Gamma-ray bursts;
- Artificial satellites;
- High-redshift galaxies;
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena