Lucky Family Gets Portrait of a Lifetime When a Shooting Star Makes an Unexpected Appearance in Their Photo

Shooting Star Crashes Family Photo

A lucky family got the portrait of a lifetime when a shooting star appeared just as photographer Wil Cheung was snapping their photo. The result is a unique group portrait of the smiling family in the UK's Northumberland National Park. For Cheung, who was leading a group of stargazers through the park, it was a wonderful way to cap off the evening.

He'd already taken portraits of the other 25 guests when the Swan family stepped up for their turn. As Cheung needed to take a long exposure to get both the family and the night sky, he asked them to hold still for 3 seconds. Then, something magical occurred.

“When I clicked, I had to light them up briefly with a small torch, it was that moment I heard a gasp from everyone and I looked up and saw with my own eyes a bright shooting star streak across,” the photographer tells My Modern Met. “I then looked down at my camera and to my delight, the shooting star was captured!”

Cheung was impressed that the Swans remained so calm and held still even after all of the commotion. After the photo was finished and he told them what had happened, they were delighted. “It was great to see them so happy and excited from what had happened.”

Once Cheung explained to the group that typically he only sees one or two meteors an hour, the rarity of the situation really sunk in. The evening was made all the more special because the aurora was also visible. It's something that only happens from September to March and only when both the aurora level is high and the skies are clear. Overall, it was a one-in-a-million event for Cheung as a photographer and certainly provided the memory of a lifetime for the lucky family.

Check out more astrophotography from that evening at the Northumberland National Park.

Astrophotography at the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park

Aurora at the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park

Astrophotography at the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park

Wil Cheung: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Wil Cheung.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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