Bright UFO, Whitby, UK

Andrew Beattie spotted this UFO over the Whitby coastline

What do you think it is?

Theories have ranged from the moon peeping out from behind the clouds through to a meteor.

But whatever the object over the Whitby coast is identified as, the photographer - who took the snap at around 7.30pm on Monday night - admits to being 'freaked out' by the experience.

Photographer Andrew Beattie, originally from Yarm, had taken a stroll to the beach in an attempt the capture the aurora.

He said: "I had a walk down to the sea wall near the beach huts to see if I could catch a glimpse of the aurora.

"I set up my tripod and camera and it was pointing out to sea.

"I saw a strange red glow above the light house, around 100 to 150ft above it.

"It then disappeared for a second, so I pointed my camera that way. Then a yellow light appeared for a few seconds with no noise and moved to the side before glowing red and completely vanishing from sight.

"The clouds behind it glowed red just before it disappeared too. Very strange.

"I did freak out a little because I've never seen anything like it."

The coastguard believes the picture could show flares connected to a military aircraft exercise that was taking place around the time.

Andrew, 31, who is also a retail assistant and father of two, added: "A few have said it's the moon through the clouds, but the moon hadn't even risen at that time.

"A couple of people have said that ET has come to visit and others have just said it's a great picture.

"A friend has sent it to a UFO investigator in New Zealand but I've not heard anything back yet."

Top UFO expert Nick Pope, who used to investigate UFOs for the Ministry of Defence, has a number of explanations.

He said: "This is a very interesting photograph.

"I can see what looks to be a trail of some kind on the original image, as opposed to the enlarged version, suggesting this is a solid object of some kind, as opposed to a reflection or some other light effect.

"One possibility is that this is a fireball meteor, burning up in the earth's atmosphere.

"Another possibility would be flares from a military exercise, or something else associated with military activity.

"I don't know exactly when this photograph was taken, but there's been a lot of recent military activity associated with the transit of Russian warships through the North Sea, en route to Syria.

"The key to solving this mystery is probably to examine radar data, to see if anything unusual was tracked.

"Additionally, it would be interesting to know if there were other witnesses to this."