Did you know that four times a year, the sun, rising or setting, aligns perfectly with Manhattan’s skyline and peeks (not peaks) it’s way all the way through from side to side? Well you should, because you live here now, and the next one is Thursday, May 30, at 8:12pm, and the slightly-less-aligned Wednesday, May 29, at 8:13pm.

The reason I tell you is it will also explain the hundreds (if not thousands) of people in the evening who are standing in the middle of streets ignoring oncoming traffic with their phones held high to snap a picture of the incoming alignment.

If you’re in town, you should definitely try and see it, because it’s pretty cool!

Send me your best pictures and I’ll publish it.

The best place to see Manhattanhenge

According to Neil deGrasse Tyson (America Josh’s lesser-known friend), the best cross streets to watch from are 14th, 34th, 42nd, 57th, and 79th Streets, as they’re wide blocks with interesting buildings for framing your photos.

A few FAQs about Manhattanhenge

Why “Manhattanhenge”?

The term “Manhattanhenge” was popularized by Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History and a native New Yorker. It is a reference to Stonehenge, which was constructed so that the rising sun, seen from the center of the monument at the time of the summer solstice, aligns with the outer “Heel Stone”. (from the Wikipedia entry)

How often does Manhattanhenge happen?

Twice during the Summer Solstice and twice during the Winter Solstice, so, four times a year.

Why do I care about Manhattanhenge?

Because it’s cool. Yep, even you can be a tourist for a few minutes. Just don’t get by an oncoming bus because it’s not worth the medical bills.

When is the next Manhattanhenge?

This year, the best view of the month will happen on Thursday, May 30, at 8:12pm, with its runner-up on  Wednesday, May 29, at 8:13pm.

Can I look directly at Manhattanhenge?

Just like an eclipse, no, don’t look at the sun. Seriously. You will burn your eyeballs.

Manhattanhenge XKCD
Taken from xkcd’s: Henge

Title image credit goes to the Farmer’s Almanac.