City dwellers are praying for a cloudless sky
Fewer things are more universally beautiful than the scene of a picturesque sunset.
It’s during the summer months that our social media news feeds are inundated with striking photos of the night sky from various locations around the world. But it’s one particular sunset in the Western sky off the island of Manhattan that draws the attention of the masses for more than its beauty.
Named in likeness to Stonehenge, England’s prehistoric monument and wonder of the world, Manhattanhenge is presumed to hold some astronomical significance as its referential counterpart does. On the first day of summer, the sun aligns perfectly with several of the stones at Stonehenge, signifying the change of seasons in the northern hemisphere. For two consecutive days in the month of May and again in July, the setting sun aligns perfectly with the grid of New York City’s bustling streets, creating a similar solar phenomenon.
Its first occurrence on Memorial Day weekend was ultimately disappointing, as cloudy skies obstructed the view each day. The evening of July 11, however, brought the full sun into view for the onlookers who took to the streets to capture the scene and share their experiences via social media.
The millions of people populating the island have an opportunity to catch this seasonal moment in all of its ambiguous beauty for one last time in the year 2016. At 8:20 p.m. ET on July 12, the sun will position itself with half of its sphere above and half below the horizon. Famed Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson recommends situating yourself far east on the island for the event, with the best visibility at the cross streets of 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd and 57th. Plan to arrive 30 minutes before the expected sunset to catch a glimpse of the stunning view.