May 28, 2016 11:24 pm

It’s time for that uniquely New York event, Manhattanhenge!

Manhattanhenge, a photo by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Sunset looking down 34th Street. One of two days when the sunset is exactly aligned with the grid of streets in Manhattan.
Copyright © 2001, Neil deGrasse Tyson

Summer in New York City can be nasty, brutish, and unfortunately for those of us who hate the oppressive heat and the acrid smell of urine in subway entrances, not short enough.

But there are two fiery spectacles that can only happen in the Big Apple that make summertime more bearable: Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks and Manhattanhenge.

If you have never heard of Manhattanhenge, who better to explain it to you than the man who coined the term to describe the event, our host, Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium?

“For Manhattan, a place where evening matters more than morning, that special day comes twice a year, when the setting Sun aligns precisely with the Manhattan street grid, creating a radiant glow of light across Manhattan’s brick and steel canyons, simultaneously illuminating both the north and south sides of every cross street of the borough’s grid. A rare and beautiful sight.”

In 2016, the Half Sun is visible on Sunday, May 29 at 8:12pm EDT and Full Sun the day after, on Monday, May 30 at 8:12pm EDT.

Manhattanhenge returns with the Full Sun visible on Monday, July 11 at 8:20pm EDT and the Half Sun the day after, on Tuesday, July 12 at 8:20pm EDT.

For the best places to see the light, and more of Neil’s take on Manhattanhenge, including what future anthropologists might make of the event, check out the American Museum of Natural History’s website on the subject.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Jeffrey Simons

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