International Space Station photo by Newcastle astronomer goes viral

With the station travelling at roughly 17,500mph, Mr Cheung's window of opportunity was under a second. Credit: Wil Photography

An astrophotographer from the North East has gone viral for his rare picture of the International Space Station.

Over the past year, Wil Cheung has made seven attempts to capture the world's most famous satellite (ISS) passing across the sun.

The space station travels at 17,500mph roughly 250 miles away, so Mr Cheung's window of opportunity for shooting the eclipse was under a second.

However, at 12.36pm (and 30 seconds) on 14 August near Bowburn in County Durham, Mr Cheung finally got the photo he had been waiting for.

Mr Cheung said: "I drove down and set up my camera and telephoto lens so I knew I was ready to get the photo – but you never know if the weather is going to be kind to you at that exact moment.

"Thankfully the skies stayed clear and I got it. I couldn’t quite believe it."

Mr Cheung is resident astronomer at Twice Brewed but also takes nature photos. Credit: Wil Photography

Resident astronomer at The Twice Brewed Observatory in Northumberland, Mr Cheung has had a few tastes of online exposure.

Earlier this year, he captured a shooting star 'photobombing' a family posing at Hadrian's Wall.

Wil Cheung is an avid space photographer. Credit: Will Cheung

Despite his impressive repertoire, Mr Cheung's ISS picture has taken him to new heights.

It has been liked by over 700,000 Facebook users and shared 45,000 times on the platform.

"I was simply amazed at how the photo was being shared and liked," he said.

"The shooting star family photo got a lot of attention, but this has been just unbelievable. 

"On average, one of my posts will get 1-2,000 likes. But 700,000? I’ve never had anything near that.

"I would normally pick up 500 followers a week on my Facebook page. In the week following the Space Station photo post, I had 27,000 new followers."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...