VANCOUVER -- A fiery light show illuminated B.C. skies Thursday night, but in spite of its appearance, weather officials say it wasn't a meteor.

Residents across the Pacific coast shared photos to social media, showing a streak of light across dark sky. It could still be faintly seen early Friday morning. Witnesses of the sky-high light show told CTV News they thought it could have been a plane, or a shooting star.

While the U.S. National Weather Service in Seattle initially said the phenomenon looked like a meteor, it later confirmed it was actually debris from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that failed to complete its re-entry burn.

“The last bit of the upper atmosphere kind of nudged it, just enough so that it came down and burnt up in the upper atmosphere," explained Aaron Boley, an astronomer and associate professor at UBC.

The rocket re-entry was planned and expected, but should not have been visible from land, Boley added.

“It was intended to do it over the Pacific Ocean. Because of a kind of failure, it happened to go over a place where it was very easy for people to see.”

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Florida in early March, carrying 60 satellites into space. Boley said in recent years, rockets have been launched into space more often, transporting thousands of small satellites that form networks known as mega-constellations. The satellites provide coverage for internet and communications services.

“As we are moving forward with using space in a more direct way, from navigations, financial transactions, the internet, it comes at the cost of putting lots of infrastructure into Earth orbit, and there are real risks associated with that, such as collisions between these assets.”

As the infrastructure in space grows, Boley expects to see more space debris burning up, causing light shows more often. In this latest instance, he said most of the material burned up in the sky, so it’s unlikely anyone will discover space junk in their backyards.

SpaceX has not yet commented on the rocket debris.