JONATHAN BURNETT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JONATHAN BURNETT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sunlit contrail. This is the vapour trail left by an aircraft. It has been dramatically lit by the low sun here, giving it the impression of a fireball meteor. When the image was first recorded it generated a large amount of publicity and it was assumed that it did indeed show a large meteor burning up in the atmosphere. Subsequent analysis showed that it was almost certainly a sunlit contrail, probably left by the Concorde aircraft. It was photographed in late September 2003 from South Wales.
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