If you’re hoping to catch an awe-inspiring phenomenon along the streets of New York, tonight is the night to do it.
On May 30 at 8:16 p.m. EDT (and again on July 11 at 8:24 p.m. EDT), Manhattanhenge 2012 reaches its sweet spot as the setting sun aligns perfectly with the city’s grid of East-West streets, according to this article from the American Museum of Natural History‘s Hayden Planetarium.
The best spots from which to view the fiery spectacle are at 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, and 57th Streets. The Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building also offer especially good views.
What causes Manhattanhenge? Well, the city’s rigid street grid and the New York area’s relatively low-lying geography make the island unique. The city’s East-West streets are straight and find themselves lined with nearly unbroken skyscrapers. The end result is amazing.
If New York’s street grid were aligned with the four primary directions – North, South, East, and West – Manhattanhenge would occur twice every year, on the spring and fall equinoxes.
Alas, that’s not the case, though, so here are your best viewing times:
- Wednesday, May 30 at 8:16pm (full sun)
- Wednesday, July 11 at 8:24pm (full sun)
- Thursday, July 12 at 8:25pm
More from last year’s Manhattanhenge in the video below.
- Today is One of Two ‘Manhattanhenge’ Days (observer.com)
- Manhattanhenge 2012 to shine on New York City grid at sunset on Tuesday (guardian.co.uk)
- Sun Turns NYC into ‘Manhattanhenge’ Tonight (space.com)
- Manhattanhenge 2012, Viewing The Setting Sun As It Aligns With the East-West Streets of Manhattan (laughingsquid.com)