Photographer Accidentally Captures Shooting Star While Taking Family’s Photo

People head to Northern England’s Northumberland Dark Sky Park, an area protected from light pollution, to get the best night sky viewing. But one family got an even better sight than they’d expected at a recent stargazing event in early March.

Stargazing guide and professional photographer Wil Cheung was taking a photo of guests attending a night sky watch event at the Twice Brewed Inn, a beautiful view of that night’s aurora behind them. Just as he was snapping away, a shooting star fell across the frame. Cheung perfectly and accidentally captured its course just above the Swan family’s heads.

Cheung shared the amazing photo on his Facebook page and recounted the experience in a post that has gone viral.

“When the Swan family got in position I took the photo and a very large shooting star appeared,” the photographer wrote. “The other 25 guests all gasped and we couldn’t believe it I managed to get the meteor in the shot perfectly framed!”

Steve Swan, his partner Louise Redpath and their children Harry, 13, and Rose, 11, who live in Morpeth, Northumberland, didn’t actually get to see the shooting star as it occurred. But they now have a rare moment to frame and display in their home.

“Wil sent us a high-resolution picture straight away and will be on the wall soon — it’s a really special family memory to have,” Steve Swan told the Northumberland Gazette. “And we’ll certainly be going back to do more stargazing. We all had a fantastic time.”

As for Cheung, he said he’ll never get a shot like that again.

“Getting the aurora in the background, and such a beautiful shooting star traveling across the sky just at the moment the family were posing for a photo — it’s amazing,” he told the newspaper. “I know I’ll never take another shot like that again. It’s a real one in a million stuff.”

Have you ever seen a shooting star while stargazing?