Savor the sunset: Manhattanhenge is this week
Manhattanhenge, the celestial wonder that bathes city streets with the sunsets light, happens Thursday and Friday.
The solar event causes the sun to set in alignment with Manhattans street grid. Sunset on Thursday is at 8:19.
Friday may be the most interesting day, with the sun in perfect alignment just before it begins to disappear below the horizon. On Thursday, perfect alignment begins just after sunset has begun.
Either day, though, Manhattanhenge will offer New Yorkers an unusual event that is best appreciated the farther east you stand, said Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History.
"You want to see the sun set at the vanishing point of the street, and you only get that vanishing- point effect if you're as far east as possible," he said. "You need the grid in front of you, not behind you."
Tyson, who coined the term for the sunlit alignment in the late 1990s, said he'll probably be watching this year from East 42nd Street on the Tudor City overpass, where viewers can admire the glow without blocking traffic.
He said that 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd and 57th streets are all good options for catching the sight. So far, the weather looks sunny both days.
If nothing else, Tyson hopes Manhattanhenge might stir people's interest in the cosmos.
"I'll take any excuse to get people to look at the sky," he said.
If you miss it
Dont despair. Manhattanhenge happens again on July 12. And a similar effect takes place, but at sunrise, in December and January.
-- Megan Stride
Photo via the idealist on Flickr