Gallery: Manhattanhenge 2012 Solar Phenomenon Will Hit NYC Tonight!

Sunset over Manhattan from Top of the Rock via Shutterstock

Get your cameras ready New Yorkers! “Manhattanhenge,” the solar phenomenon that awes NYC  just twice a year, strikes at 8:17PM tonight. At that time, the sun will align perfectly with Manhattan’s east-west grid, presenting spectacular sunsets on just about every street. Tonight we’ll be able to see a half sun on New York’s grid and tomorrow, the full sun will be showcased.

A play on the solstices’ visual effects on Stonehenge, Manhattanhenge is also known as the “Manhattan Solstice.” Manhattan’s 200-year-old grid is laid out at a 29 degree angle from true east-west. Tonight and tomorrow evening, the sun will set directly over the New Jersey horizon and will be positioned perfectly over each street’s midline.

According to the Hayden Planetarium, the best plan for photo opportunities is to arrive about half an hour earlier than the 8:17 p.m. sunset tonight. Take a walk and locate yourself as far east in Manhattan as possible. Some of the better views for photographers will occur on 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, 57th and the nearby streets parallel to them. And of course, the Empire State, Chrysler and MetLife buildings will offer some stellar views. Note how Manhattan’s buildings will frame the setting sun perfectly. Of course, the weather has to cooperate, and the chances of rain are 20 percent today and 40 percent tomorrow.

But if you miss Manhattanhenge this week or rain mars the view, mark your calendars for July 11 and 12, when this glorious event will repeat itself once again.

+ Hayden Planetarium

Via Huffington Post

Photos courtesy Shutterstock, Wikipedia (Daniel Schwen)

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