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The sun sets on the horizon overlooking 42nd street as “Manhattanhenge” occurs in New York on July 13, 2011. It is dubbed “Manhattanhenge” and happens two times a year when the Sun aligns at dusk with streets in a glowing magic trick as rays of sunlight span across New York perfectly, from west to east. “Manhattanhenge may just be a unique urban phenomenon in the world,” says astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, of the American Museum of Natural History, who officially discovered the phenomenon. The name “Manhattanhenge” is a play on Manhattan, this city’s most famous borough, and Stonehenge, the megalithic monument in southern England with large stone blocks set out in concentric circles. At Stonehenge, the Sun crosses the site’s central axis during the summer and winter solstices, leading experts to speculate that the site could have been used as a sort of sun calendar, as well as for religious ceremonies. (Photo: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
MANHATTAN — It’s that time again: the sun-meets streets phenomenon of Manhattanhenge returns this weekend for what skygazers hope will be another spectacular showing.
Each Manhattanhenge – when the sun aligns with the borough’s grid, lighting both the north and south sides of every street – is made of two nights. During the first night, half of the sun’s disk sits above the horizon, and the other half below. On the second night, the entire disk floats above the horizon.
The year’s first henge will take place on Sunday; the sunset is at 8:12 p.m. An encore will happen the next night at the same.
If you miss the holiday weekend showing, there’s another in July — specifically on the 11th and 12th of that month.
Skygazers should position themselves as far east in Manhattan as possible. The best viewing will be along 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd and 57th streets, and at the Empire State and Chrysler buildings.