Sun Ligns for ‘Manhattanhenge’ in New York

One need not go all the way to Salisbury Plain to witness a spectacular solar phenomenon.

New Yorkers have been privileged to view something called “Manhattanhenge” or “Manhattan Solstice” – whereby the sun sets in alignment with the east-west streets of the urban island, providing a visual somewhat similar to Stonehenge in England. Manhattanhenge occurs only twice a year – typically around May 28 and July 12 or July 13.

In this perfect and rare juxtaposition, the sun appears to be comfortably nestled between Manhattan’s huge skyscrapers. However, the effect lasts for only 15 or 20 minutes. The term “Manhattanhenge” was created by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson in 1996 at the American Museum of Natural History, who noticed how similar it was to the way the sun sets in Stonehenge.

People step out into the street to photograph the sunset along 34th Street, aligning with the Manhattan street grid during “Manhattanhenge” on July 13 in New York. It is dubbed “Manhattanhenge” and happens two times a year when the Sun aligns at dusk with streets in a glowing magic trick as rays of sunlight span across New York perfectly, from west to east. (Stan Honda / AFP – Getty Images)

The sun sets on the horizon across 42nd street as “Manhattanhenge” occurs in New York on July 13. “Manhattanhenge may just be a unique urban phenomenon in the world,” says astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, of the American Museum of Natural History, who officially discovered the phenomenon. The name “Manhattanhenge” is a play on Manhattan, this city’s most famous borough, and Stonehenge, the megalithic monument in southern England. (Timothy A. Clary / AFP – Getty Images)

Manhattanhenge (Creative Common)

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