'Manhattanhenge' descends on the New York City skyline tonight

The setting sun aligns with the Manhattan street grid four times each year.
By Evan Bleier   |   May 29, 2014 at 9:16 AM   |   Comments

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NEW YORK, May 29 (UPI) -- Although New York City wasn't constructed by ancient druids, that can be easy to forget four times each year during "Manhattanhenge."

The term, which was made popular by Hayden Planetarium director Neil deGrasse Tyson, refers to times during the year when the sun perfectly lines up with the New York City grid in a way that is reminiscent of what happens at Stonehenge on the summer solstice.

The first Manhattanhenge occurrence will begin tonight just after 8 p.m.

"For best effect, position yourself as far east in Manhattan as possible. But ensure that when you look west across the avenues you can still see New Jersey," deGrasse Tyson advises. "Clear cross streets include 14th, 23rd, 34th. 42nd, 57th, and several streets adjacent to them. The Empire State building and the Chrysler building render 34th street and 42nd streets especially striking vistas."

The other Manhattanhenge events will be on May 30 at 8:18 p.m., July 11 at 8:24 p.m. and July 12 at 8:25 p.m.

DeGrasse Tyson notes that if Manhattan's grid ran strictly north-south and east-west instead of being turned about 30 degrees east, Manhattanhenge would fall on the spring and fall equinoxes.

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