Every year, residents of New York’s most populated borough are treated to a special sight. Due to the city’s grid alignment, the setting sun falls perfectly between the skyscrapers of the city, creating one of the most unusual views that can be captured in Manhattan. The phenomenon echoes that of Stonehenge, says astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson, the director of Hayden Planetarium at the New York Museum of Natural History. At the summer solstice, the sun rises perfectly over the stone circle at Stonehenge; similarly, twice a year, Manhattan has a kind of solstice of its own. Tonight will be one of those nights.
“For Manhattan, a place where evening matters more than morning, that special day comes twice a year. For 2012 they fall on May 29th, and July 12th, when the setting Sun aligns precisely with the Manhattan street grid, creating a radiant glow of light across Manhattan’s brick and steel canyons, simultaneously illuminating both the north and south sides of every cross street of the borough’s grid,” writes deGrasse Tyson on the Hayden Planetarium website. ”For these two days, as the Sun sets on the grid, half the disk sits above and half below the horizon. My personal preference for photographs. But the day after, May 30th, and the day before, July 11, also offer Manhattanhenge moments, but at sunset, you instead will find the entire ball of the Sun on the horizon.”
Manhattanhenge 2012 will be taking place at 8:16 PM tonight, so get those cameras ready! Keep watching the skies.
Tags: Manhattanhenge, Manhattan, new york city, new york, unusual images, unusual sunsets, sunset placed perfectly between skyscrapers, neil degrasse tyson, sunsets, unusual sunsets, sunset placement, Stonehenge, Hayden Planetarium, New York Museum of Natural History, astronomy