Photo via Corey Menscher/Flickr
Coolest astrophysicist on Earth Neil deGrasse Tyson reminds us that the otherworldly phenomenon called “Manhattanhenge” is happening this evening. At two times during the year, New Yorkers can see a full sunset perfectly lined up through the streets and high-rises–Wednesday, May 30th at 8:12pm and Thursday, July 12th at 8:20pm. And two other times, you can see a half sunset perfectly lined up where half the sun is above the horizon and half is below–Tuesday, May 29th at 8:13pm and Friday, July 13th at 8:21pm.
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Despite popular belief, Tyson explains that the sun only rises and sets exactly in the east and west two times a year, on the equinoxes. But because Manhattan’s grid is rotated 30 degrees east from geographic north, these sightings don’t line up with the equinox.
Tyson recommends the large east/west cross streets as the best viewing platforms–14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd and 57th streets. He is partial to the 34th Street and 42nd Street views because of the way the light reflects dramatically off the Empire State and Chrysler buildings.
Beyond having a very organized grid system, what makes New York perfect for photographing this phenomenon, versus other cities, is the clear horizon that the Hudson River provides beyond the buildings.
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