TO the thousands of people gathered on the Promenade, it must have seemed like part of the display.
But an eagle-eyed few among those enjoying the World Fireworks Championships might have spotted something odd about one flash in the sky.
It wasn’t a firework – it was either a meteor or space junk.
The odd occurrence made headlines around the country – and local photographer Neil Thomas was in the right place at the right time, capturing the moment with this brilliant picture.
Yet even he didn’t quite know what he’d snapped until he returned home.
Mr Thomas, 39, of Grasmere Road, Marton, said: “I was so busy looking at fireworks I never even noticed the space junk at the time.
“It was only when I got home and looked at the pics on my laptop that I saw it. I thought it must be a shooting star until I saw the news on TV.”
The bright object appeared in the night sky on Friday at around 8.30pm and within minutes people from across the UK began reporting the sighting.
Dr Tim O’Brien, associate director of the Jodrell Bank Observatory, said it was difficult to know the cause of the phenomenon.
He said: “It’s hard to say whether it was a chunk of rock coming in from outer space or a bit of space junk, which is basically man-made stuff from a spacecraft that’s burning up in the earth’s atmosphere.
“The object was probably 80 miles up and moving very fast, at 18,000 miles an hour. It crashed into the atmosphere, started to burn up and left a spectacular trail.”