In The Saddle Sunset, International Space Station, Meteor Shower, New Moon, and Fireworks - On The Rock - Sun, Jul 23 2017

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In The Saddle Sunset, International Space Station, Meteor Shower, New Moon, and Fireworks - On The Rock

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: Stone Mountain Park   Hike: In The Saddle Sunset, International Space Station, Meteor Shower, New Moon, and Fireworks - On The Rock  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Sun, Jul 23 2017  7:55 pm >> Sun, Jul 23 2017 10:30 pm
Registration Opens: Thu, Jul 20 2017 8:08 pm
Registration Cut Off: Sun, Jul 23 2017 4:44 pm
Event Duration:2 Hours 35 Minutes
Difficulty Rating:D2: Easy to Moderate
Distance:2.5 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Laura V
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:20
Minimum Group Size:2
Number Registered So Far: 10 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


Should the weather and the skies cooperate, we'll have an opportunity to pack in some great sights from the top of Stone Mountain on this evening. We should have a beautiful sunset which will land on the horizon right between Big and Little Kennesaw Mtns - in the Saddle - at 8:44. At about 9:40, we'll have an opportunity to watch the opening fireworks of the SM Laser show. A short time later, 9:55, the International Space Station will do its fly-over. Then about 10 minutes after the ISS goes out of sight, we will see the larger fireworks finale of the laser show. We may also get to see some shooting stars from the Delta Aquarid and Perseids Meteor Showers. Although it will not be the peak for either meteor shower, it will still be in the window of opportunity for both. Being that the two meteor showers overlap, and the fact that it will be a new moon (i.e., no moonlight), we may get lucky and catch some - so bring your wishes to make.

We will hike to the top of Stone Mountain and should arrive on the summit about 10 min before sunset. We will get comfortable, socialize, and watch the sun set "in the saddle" of Kennesaw Mtns. Shortly after the sun sets, we will move around to the east side of the summit where it's a bit darker, lay down and scan the skies for shooting stars (meteors). We will then move to the north side of the summit for the opening fireworks, and a few minutes later, watch the brightest man-made object in the sky wiz by for a whopping 6 minutes. A short time after the ISS leaves our view, we'll see the fireworks, which will explode right in front of us, from the SM Laser show finale.

About the ISS....  Wiz by?... that's right... it's zippin' along at 17,200 miles per hour! Brightest man-made object in space? Yep... it's the brightest object in the sky next to the sun and moon!  And if that's not enough to impress you, how about seeing $150 Billion speeding through space.  Yeah, that's 150,000,000,000 bucks, and your American tax dollars contributed about $75,000,000,000 of that (yeah, that's "billions").  How much does it weigh?... about 1 million lbs.  Only 6 minutes?... well, it travels entirely around the earth over 15 times in a day, so 6 minutes is about as long of a view as we will ever get in one pass.  How big is it?... about the size of a football field - including the end zones.  Yes, since we contributed more than any other country, it's measured in real football fields (per NASA)... not soccer fields. Alrighty... enough with the numbers... in layman's terms, it's big, it's fast, it's expensive, and it's cool.

Feel free to bring beverages and/or snacks of your choice to enjoy while we're hanging out on top - we'll be up there for about an hour and a half total. It's meant to be a leisurely, sociable, enjoyable evening. If anyone wants to leave early, you're welcome to head back down whenever you want as long as you let the TLs know you're leaving early.

We will begin the hike (yes, there is a hike) from the Confederate Center at 7:55 PM sharp. Plan to arrive 6-8 minutes early for introductions. I will be taking a side trail through the woods, so if you're even two minutes late, you're not going to find us except at the top.

If you have a pair of binoculars you may want to bring them for an even better view of the ISS.

Please take the time to look at the park map and parking options in order to be on time!


Required Items to Bring:
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Fluids to stay hydrated
Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.
  • Snacks/beverages
  • Camera
  • Binoculars

How to Get There:
Event Directions:


GPS Coordinates: 33.81077, -84.16212

Directions: To the main entrance- From I-285 take U.S. Hwy 78 East (Snellville/Athens) exit. Travel about 7 miles and take Exit 8, the Stone Mountain Park Main Entrance. After entering the main entrance, proceed straight ahead. The road will fork at about 1 mile – stay to the right. Continue to follow the road for another mile.  Look for the large Confederate Hall parking lot on your left where we park during the hike.  We'll gather at our "usual AOC meetup spot," by the stone restroom building at the base of the Walk-Up Trail

You can also enter through the West Gate entrance, in Stone Mountain Village. If you enter here, turn right through the gate and you're just almost to the Confederate Hall parking lot on your left.


There's no charge for pedestrians or bicyclists to enter Stone Mountain Park.  There is usually plenty of free parking just outside the Park in the Stone Mountain Village area.  The Village is near the Park's "West Gate" entrance which is quite close to Confederate Hall and the Walk-Up trailhead.  You can park near the railroad tracks and walk about 1/2 mile up East Mountain Street and directly into the park, through a small gate (Note that this gate is often locked soon after sunset and you have to walk out around the nearby West Gate and then left to get back to East Mountain Street.)

Another free parking lot is the "Red Caboose Visitor Center" lot on the Main Street, which has its own paved walking/biking trail (the "PATH") into the Park. To drive to that lot, get off US-78 (Stone Mtn Freeway) at Exit #5, then bear right to exit again about a half mile ahead, turn left onto E. Ponce de Leon Ave, go through the first traffic light onto Main Street and continue about a half mile and look for the red caboose on your left.  In about 10 minutes you can walk into the Park via the paved PATH trail, turn left on Robt. E. Lee Blvd (for ~300 yards) and join the AOC group at the Walk-Up trailhead. (Note the gate on this PATH trail is often locked soon after sunset).

Additional directions and maps can be found at: aspx


There is a $15 daily parking fee to drive into Stone Mountain Park unless you have an annual pass.

* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.