Bikepacking into Space (Video)
Our friend Barry Godin recently discovered a new hobby in astrophotography. But, because he lives in London, he has to travel to places with less light pollution to adequately capture the cosmos. In this new video, he combines his new hobby with an old one, bikepacking, on a trip to photograph the Horse Head Nebula. Watch it here and see shots from the trip…
For Barry Godin’s first adventure of 2022, he set out to the Chiltern Hills in England to reach a good, dark spot to practice his newfound hobby, astrophotography. Watch Barry’s video documenting a cold overnighter and see a few example photos he captured below of objects millions of light-years away. Amazing!
Words by Barry Godin (@barrygodin)
Over the past year, I’ve been absorbed by the incredibly interesting subject of astrophotography. It started out just taking a photo of the stars, but when I thought about how it’s possible to photograph objects that are millions of light-years away, my mind was blown. Nebulas and galaxies are amazing objects to look at, and when you captured them yourself through your tiny telescope, you feel like you’ve discovered new something for the first time. Those light particles have travelled for millions and millions of years to find their way onto your camera’s sensor.
So, how does the adventure part fit in? Well, we as humans have generated so much light pollution that from our cities we have made it nearly impossible to see the stars. Light pollution has a grading system with a maximum of 9; it’s called the Bortle scale. My house in London is a Bortle sky of 8.5. So, traveling just outside of London to the Chilterns took me down to a Bortle 5 sky, which is a huge difference. Places in remote Wales and Scotland take you down to Bortle 2 sky where you can see the Milky Way and celestial objects with the naked eye.
Combining this all together and trying to carry all of my gear on a bike and camping kit in winter was a mission, especially the first time. Next time, I’ll pack a little better now that I’m more aware of what I need to bring. It’s also interesting to find new reasons for adventure, different stimuli to fuel the motivation to see new places and seek new experiences. We can just go, but often there has to be a reason or theme for a journey, and combining passions and hobbies really helps you get out there.
Astrophotography Gear Nerdery
When you have a ‘portable rig’ it means you have to take it somewhere. So, with the first clear night for months, I had to get out of London’s Bortle 8 skies to the Chilterns with Bortle 4. Bike and all camping gear packed it made a heavy but ‘portable’ load. But, I’m amazed at my first ever capture of the Horsehead and Flame Nebula; I also started to get the nebulosity of the Pleiades. It was a sub-zero night, which helped keep the camera from overheating, but it was a little uncomfortable temperature in the tent. Here’s the list of astrophotography gear list I brought along for the shots:
-Skywatcher Evo Guide 50mm
-Astro essentials guide scope
-Zwo ASI AIR Plus
-Skywatcher AZ GTI mount
-William Optics base
-Bosch survey tripod
-Talent cell 12v battery
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