Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What is Manhattanhenge?

What is Manhattanhenge? Manhattanhenge is the phenomenon of the setting sun aligning with the east-west streets of Manhattan's main street grid.

It occurs on two days, equidistant before and after the summer solstice. This year, like most years, it occurred on May 30, and is happening again today.

The half-sun should be on the grid at 8:24 p.m. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson coined the term Manhattanhenge as a takeoff on Stonehenge, a site in southern England where the sun aligns with the stones on the dates of the solstices. Early birds, take note: the corresponding sunrise phenomenon happens around the winter solstice, usually December 5 and January 8. (D.R.)

Quote: "(Manhattanhenge is)...a rare and beautiful sight. These two days happen to correspond with Memorial Day and Baseball's All Star break. Future anthropologists might conclude that, via the Sun, the people who called themselves Americans worshiped War and Baseball." — Neil deGrasse Tyson


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