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Strange lights spotted over the English Channel prompted hundreds of people to call the Coastguard.
Fears that the white and green flashes were distress flares fired off by a ship in trouble proved unfounded, when it was revealed the lights were probably a meteor shower.
Calls were made to stations from Hampshire down to Brixham in Devon and across to Jersey and France at about 9.30pm on Monday.
A Solent Coastguard spokesman said: 'There were reports of flares all down the coast which went on for about half an hour, but there was a forecast for a meteor shower.
'At some times of the year you get known showers, although I'm not sure if this was one of them, but certainly on a clear night it's not uncommon to see them.
'You get reports right along the coast virtually simultaneously, that's the give away really.
'It's quite amazing, it sort of sweeps along the coastline with one station getting reports after the other.
'We can get so many calls it can almost overload the system, because we can never discount it could be an emergency.