The semi-annual Manhattanhenge will make its debut tonight at 8:16 pm, according Bloomberg Businessweek and another one is to occur July 11 at 8:25 pm.
The Manhattanhenge creates an ethereal glow amongst the city-line skyscrapers. From the East-West streets align with the sun setting on the longest day of the year—the summer solstice.
The cosmic effect of the Manhattanhenge resembles the effects of the famous Stonehenge sundial.
According to the American Museaum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium the best places to view the spectacle are at 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, and 57th streets as well the Chrysler Building and Empire State building are known to offer spectacular views.
Neil de Grasse Tyson, an astrophysicist at the Hayden Planetarium, coined the term Manhattanhenge back in 2002. Tyson says it’s best to position yourself on the far-east of the city facing west.
Other cities with a uniform street grid experience a similar phenomenon to the Manhattanhenge, cities like Chicago, Toronto and Montreal. City grids must have a grid-plan where its alignment is with the true north—not magnetic north—laid out exactly north-south and east-west streets.
According to Bloomberg Business week, what makes Manhattan’s henge day unique is the island’s low-lying geography, its straight streets and “unbroken skyscrapers.”
The phenomenon can be witnessed during its winter solstice, if anyone is willing to wake up early for that.