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Setting sun to align with NYC streets Wednesday during Manhattanhenge 2024

By Brian Lada, Accuweather.com
The setting sun moves across 42nd street during a Manhattanhenge sunset event in New York City on May 30, 2023. The Manhattanhenge sunset comes twice a year when the setting sun aligns precisely with Manhattan's street grid. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
The setting sun moves across 42nd street during a Manhattanhenge sunset event in New York City on May 30, 2023. The Manhattanhenge sunset comes twice a year when the setting sun aligns precisely with Manhattan's street grid. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

The world-famous New York City Skyline will be the focal point of a captivating astronomical alignment this week, an event known as Manhattanhenge.

Manhattanhenge occurs when the setting sun aligns with the streets of New York City. It's a phenomenon that draws in thousands of photographers and spectators twice a year.

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Similar to an eclipse, you need to be at the right place at the right time to see it, in addition to the weather cooperating for the few brief moments before the sun dips below the horizon.

The best days to see Manhattanhenge in 2024 will be at sunset on Wednesday, May 29, around 8:12 p.m. EDT, and Friday, July 12, around 8:20 p.m. EDT.

Onlookers may need a bit of luck this year, as clouds could become a last-minute show-stopper.

Clouds and spotty showers will be around the New York City area Wednesday evening, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Dombek explained. "It could be beautiful until right before, and then clouds and a shower pop up." He added, though, that there is certainly a chance for breaks in the clouds that will allow people to see the sunset.

For the best views of the alignment, there are several notable viewing locations across the city, including 14th Street, 23rd Street, 34th Street, 42nd Street and 57th Street.

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Due to the popularity of Manhattanhenge, onlookers and photographers should arrive early to beat the crowds. Additionally, folks should avoid looking directly at the sun, as it can lead to eye damage.

The alignment of the sun and the city grid isn't exclusive to New York City. The event can happen in any city where the orientation of the streets aligns with the sun.

Chicago is another major U.S. city with its own version of the alignment, aptly named Chicagohenge. It usually occurs around the spring and autumn equinoxes.

San Francisco has its own rendition of the event, named "California Henge," in which the sun aligns with the city streets and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

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