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Veterans Day Mid-Morning Hike at Mason Mill Park + Rare Solar Transit of the Planet Mercury!
|Event Location:||NE Atlanta near Clairmont Rd & I-85|
|Date(s) & Time:||Mon, Nov 11 2019 10:00 am >> Mon, Nov 11 2019 11:45 am|
|Registration Opens:||Fri, Nov 8 2019 9:00 pm|
|Registration Cut Off:||Mon, Nov 11 2019 8:00 am|
|Event Duration:||1 Hours 45 Minutes|
|Difficulty Rating:||D1: Easy|
|Trip Leader(s):||Charlie Cottingham|
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|Who's Invited:||Members Only, 21 And Older Only|
|Maximum Group Size:||15|
|Minimum Group Size:||2|
|Number Registered So Far:||12 / 1 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)|
|Are Dogs Permitted:||Yes|
Hope you can plan to celebrate Veterans Day by joining us for this mid-morning Hiking + Astronomy event at lovely Mason Mill Park here in NE Atlanta. We'll gather a few minutes before 10:00 AM just inside the park entrance, in the free parking lot by the stone restroom building and kids' playground. (See detailed Directions below). We've carefully chosen the date and time of the event to coincide with a rare "Transit" of Mercury," during which the planet will be orbiting slowly across the solar disc, and can be viewed between 7:35 AM and 1:04 PM as a "round black dot" from here in GA, weather permitting. Transits of Mercury are rare and the next one visible from Georgia won't be until 30 years from now - Nov 7th, 2049! (The Monday AM forecast as of Sun Nov 10th expects about 30% cloud cover. There likely will be frequent breaks in the clouds, allowing us get good views of the celestial phenomenon.) I'll bring my special solar-filtered binoculars and eclipse glasses to share with the group and make it safe for each of us to observe the sun and Mercury..
After introductions we'll set up our "AOC observing station" at a nearby picnic table and discuss how to safely use our gear. If the sky cooperates we'll then enjoy some initial observing of the transit. We'll choose an appropriate time to hike together to Medlock Park and back (depending on the sky conditions), stopping often to regroup and enjoy the native flora & fauna and other interesting scenery. We'll pause occasionally to take more looks at Mercury with our "solarized binocs," assuming that the clouds cooperate. Our total hike distance will be about 3 miles with just one or two steep spots. We'll target being back at the cars by 11:45 AM. If you need to "split" early from the group that's OK, but be sure to let me know if and when you do so. It should be easy to direct you back to the parking lot. If it's a bit too cloudy to see the transit between 10AM and 11:45, some of us may wish to stick around longer and hope for a clearer sky - up until Mercury exits the solar disc at 1:04 PM.
Bring your well-behaved dog if you like, but please make sure that he or she is leashed and under your control at all times.
MORE about MERCURY TRANSITS: Cynics may say, “What’s the big deal about transits?” but avid skygazers and astronomers exult in the visual spectacle and geometry of these phenomena. Since the orbit of Mercury around the sun is inside our own Earth orbit it can occasionally appear precisely in a straight line between us and the sun, thus resulting in a transit. This happens rarely because Mercury’s orbit is tilted with respect to that of the Earth. A similar situation with our moon’s orbital tilt is likewise why total solar eclipses so seldom occur, with the moon’s shadow blocking our view of the sun. Strangely these transits are only visible from Earth in the months of November and May. When Mercury transits, it is near its closest possible approach to Earth, and appears through solarized scopes & binocs as an unmistakable small black disc, first appearing to touch the edge of the sun, then moving slowly across it. In effect this is a "mini-eclipse" that obscures a tiny percentage of the sun's light.
ABOUT the PARKS, TRAILS and HIKING OPTIONS: Mason Mill Park and its 3 adjoining "sister parks" (Medlock, Lullwater and Ira Melton Park) are in DeKalb County near Clairmont Road, Emory University and the VA Hospital They conveniently interconnect with one another via a network of hiking/biking paths and boardwalks. The paved South Peachtree Creek Trail is most popular connecting trail in the area, and like the better known Silver Comet Trail was designed and built to the high standards of the "PATH Foundation." The trail features spectacular raised decks that pass through the forest canopy and overlook the adjoining creeks. An exciting portion of this trail takes us over the railroad track via a 3-stories-high wooden walkway and deck. Hikers here are treated to aerial views of the picturesque restored ruins of the historic early-20th-Century Decatur Waterworks. This high deck is well protected from the glare of city lights and has proven to be a good spot for viewing sunsets, moonrises, the stars & planets, comets, eclipses, meteor showers, etc.
FOR a COLOR MAP of the SOUTH PEACHTREE CREEK "PATH" TRAIL and how it interconnects Mason Mill & Medlock Park and other DeKalb County-owned green space, click this link: http://pathfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/south-peachtree-creek-trail.pdf
|How to Get There:|
FROM the I-85 CLAIRMONT ROAD EXIT in NE METRO ATLANTA to our MASON MILL PARK Meetup Spot: (For a zoomable color MAP and satellite view of this spot and its vicinity click on the square blue & green "Event Location" near the top of this article.)
1. From the I-85 "Clairmont Road" Exit (Exit #91) in NE Atlanta take Clairmont Rd southward (toward Decatur) about 2.3 miles to the traffic light at McConnell Drive. (This is the next light south of the big Clairmont/ North Druid Hills intersection. If you reach the huge VA Hospital you've gone a couple of blocks too far!)
LAT/LON COORDINATES of the Mason Mill Park spot where we'll meet: (You GPS or Google.com/maps users may wish to augment my above verbal directions by entering these map coordinates as your destination address.)
* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.
Free Event with Free Parking!
Cancellation/Partial Attendance: Please review the AOC cancellation policy.