Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Manhattanhenge dele

In spring and summer every year, New Yorkers are treated to the celestial eye candy known as Manhattanhenge. The setting sun aligns with Manhattan’s city grid, creating a solar display perfectly framed by concrete buildings and steel skyscrapers. It bathes the city in its warm glow.
“It’s the best sunset picture of the year that you will have in this beautiful city,” said Jackie Faherty, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History. “Sometimes they call it the Instagram holiday.”
The name is a nod to Stonehenge, the prehistoric monument in England that is thought to have been erected by ancient people as a way to honor the sun. Every summer solstice, the sunrise perfectly illuminates the stone slabs.
Manhattanhenge is a two-day event that happens twice a year, first in May and then in July. This year the dates and times are:
• May 29, at 8:13 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
• May 30, at 8:12 p.m. E.D.T.
• July 12, at 8:20 p.m. E.D.T.
• July 13, at 8:21 p.m. E.D.T.
Forecasts suggest rain may dampen Manhattanhenge on Monday. The outlook is brighter for Tuesday
Below are answers to common questions about Manhattanhenge.
  1. Photo

    Manhattanhenge observed over a busy 42nd Street on July 12, 2007.CreditAndrea Mohin/The New York Times
    Why does it happen?
    Some 200 years ago, the architects who created the plan for modern Manhattan decided to build it using a grid system with avenues that run north and south and streets east and west. That choice inadvertently set the stage for Manhattanhenge, according to Dr. Faherty.
    “They created this bull’s-eye for the sun to hit,” she said.
    The sun moves slightly along the horizon throughout the year as Earth tilts along its axis. That means there are times during the year when the setting sun lines up with the east- and west-running streets in Manhattan.
    If Manhattan were laid out so that it aligned exactly with east and west on a compass, Manhattanhenge would occur on the spring equinox and the fall equinox. Instead, the city is 30 degrees from cardinal east and west, so the dates are shifted.
    Manhattanhenge appears either as a full-sun event or a half-sun one.
  2. Photo

    Manhattanhenge on 38th Street and 7th Avenue.CreditRicha Chaturvedi
    What’s the difference between a half sun and a full sun?
    Manhattanhenge happens in pairs, as a full sun one day and a half sun the other. The full sun is when the bottom of the sun kisses the city grid, according to Dr. Faherty. The half sun is when the middle of the sun touches the grid.
  3. Photo

    The sun kissing the city’s grid on May 29, 2008. CreditChang W. Lee/The New York Times
    Is the view better in May or July?
    There’s no real difference between the two except the order in which the sunsets occur. This year, we get the half sun on May 29 and the full sun on May 30. This summer, we’ll get the full sun on July 12 and the half sun on July 13. So the order is half-full-full-half.
    Whether you get a good show depends on how cloudy it is.
  4. Photo

    From Tudor City Place Bridge, Manhattan. "Sometimes they call it the Instagram holiday," an astrophysicist said. CreditPauline Haquenne
    Where are the best places to watch?
    The key is finding a spot with a clear view of New Jersey. Dr. Faherty suggests going to a point where the streets are wide and the buildings are beautiful.
    The most popular spots are 42nd Street, with its flashing signs, as well as 57th, 34th, 23rd and 14th Streets. There you will see people bobbing in and out of the crosswalk, hoping to snap the perfect sunset. Because you have to be in the middle of the street to see Manhattanhenge, remember that safety comes first.
    People also throng to the Pershing Square overpass near Grand Central Terminal, but that location is very close to traffic. The police are well aware of this and frequently disperse the crowds. A safer option is the Tudor City overpass near the United Nations, but amateur and professional photographers get there very early and leave little room for the casual sungazer.
    Don’t forget the other boroughs, Dr. Faherty added. Gantry Plaza State Park in Queens also has a nice view of the spectacle.
  5. Do other cities around the world have ‘henges’?
    Manhattan isn’t the only place with a “cityhenge.” There’s also ChicagohengeBostonhengePhillyhengeTorontothenge, and Montrealhenge, among others.
    “If your streets are anywhere close to east or west, my default statement is you’re going to have a ‘henge,’” Shane Larson, an astronomer at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, told The New York Times last year. “You just need to find out when.”
  6. What did it look like last year?
    Here’s a rerun of last year’s Manhattanhenge on Facebook Live. The Times will cover one or more Manhattanhenge events in 2017. Follow the Science Facebook page to learn when we’ll go live again.
  7. See the video here.
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  1. Enjoy Manhattanhenge!!
Terresa =)

POSTED 5/29/17 at 8:51AM PST

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