‘Manhattanhenge’: When to See the Solar Phenomenon In New York City

The spectacular alignment of the setting sun and the skyscrapers of the Big Apple occurs twice a year, bringing thousands of locals and visitors eager to snap the perfect photograph

The sun rises over the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline seen from Jersey City, US. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg
May 31, 2023 | 05:22 PM

Bloomberg Línea — On Monday and Tuesday of this week, the streets of Manhattan were flooded with a particular and strong glow that covered the Big Apple. when the sun aligned between the buildings of the city, and into which it descends.

The first night of so-called ‘Manhattanhenge’, a name coined by the El Tiempo newspaper in reference to the phenomenon’s similarity to the sun rising between the stones of Stonehenge in England on the summer solstice, took place on Monday, still with only half of the sunset visible. But on Tuesday, the sun showed itself fully between the skyscrapers at sunset.

One Twitter user dubbed these days the ‘Manhattanhenge effect’

The phenomenon occurs twice a year in New York City, when the sun sets between the buildings and creating a unique spectacle.


Why does ‘Manhattanhenge’ occur?

Manhattan’s streets are laid out in a grid pattern, with avenues running north-south and streets running east-west. During the summer and winter solstices, where the sun is at its most extreme point on the horizon, either at its highest point (summer solstice) or its lowest point (winter solstice), the sun is at a specific angular position relative to the Earth.

Due to the east-west orientation, the sun aligns directly with the streets and sets exactly in line with them.

When will it next be visible?

‘Manhattanhenge’ occurs around May 28 and July 12, and the next opportunity is calculated to be at 20:20 hours on July 12, and 20:21 hours on July 13.

The sun sets over 14th Street and below 155th street, and many visitors congregate between 34th and 42nd streets to capture the event with their cameras.

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