You must have heard about the Stonehenge – the prehistoric stone monument in England. But have you ever heard of Manhattanhenge? Coined by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the term refers to a very special phenomenon on the streets of Manhattan.
If you were in Manhattan on 30 May 2023, you might have witnessed the phenomenon of Manhattanhenge. Today we will talk about this unusual yet beautiful phenomenon that happens in Manhattan during sunsets and sunrises.
What Does Manhattanhenge Mean?
Manhattan in New York City is a very special place with many calling it the city of their dreams. And this phenomenon of Manhattanhenge makes the city even more special.
You might have seen some stunning photos of the sun peeking through the buildings of Manhattan. That is exactly what Manhattanhenge is. Often called Manhattan solstice, the setting sun or the rising sun gets aligned perfectly with the east–west streets of Manhattan’s street grid. Tourists flock the streets to capture one click of this beautiful phenomenon that occurs twice a year around the summer and winter solstice.
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How Does Manhattan Solstice Take Place?
Around the summer and winter solstice, you can see either the setting sun or the rising sun getting perfectly aligned with the east-west streets. The sun peeks beautifully from between the skyscrapers.
The phenomenon was first described by Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist. The main reason behind this spectacle is the alignment of the street grid. Manhattan’s street grid is rotated 29° clockwise from true east-west. This means that if the sun sets at 29° north of due West, the sunset will align with the street grid. You can check out this phenomenon on the 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, and 57th Streets.
When Does It Occur?
Mainly, this beautiful and stunning view occurs around the summer and winter solstice. The exact dates of both the solstices vary yearly. But roughly we can say the summer solstice will fall sometime between May 28 and July 13. While the winter solstice falls between December 5 and January 8.
If you want to check out the Manhattanhenge phenomenon, then you might visit Manhattan around 29 and 30 May and 12 and 13 July of 2023. You can either catch a full solar disc above the horizon or a partially hidden one on these dates.
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