Long-duration γ-ray bursts (GRBs) are thought to result from the explosions of certain massive stars, and some are bright enough that they should be observable out to redshifts of z 20 using current technology. Hitherto, the highest redshift measured for any object was z = 6.96, for a Lyman-α emitting galaxy. Here we report that GRB 090423 lies at a redshift of z 8.2, implying that massive stars were being produced and dying as GRBs 630 Myr after the Big Bang. The burst also pinpoints the location of its host galaxy.
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