A rare natural phenomenon brought the city that never stops to a standstill on Tuesday evening as thousands tried to capture the perfect ‘Manhattanhenge’ picture. The biannual spectacle takes place in New York wherein the Sun aligns precisely with the Manhattan street grid.
Manhattanhenge occurs twice in May and twice in July, and for these two days, as the Sun sets on the grid, half the disk sits above and half below the horizon, according to the American Museum of Natural History.
The “henge” phenomena is not restricted to New York and similar occurrences have been reported in other cities with large amounts of skyscrapers and long straight streets – such as Chicago, Montreal and Toronto.
Tonight’s half-sun Manhattanhenge on 42nd Street pic.twitter.com/VYJ7lzX7p1
— Noel Y. Calingasan • NYC (@nyclovesnyc) May 30, 2023
There’s also a sunrise version that occurs in the winter, the BBC reports, that happens about three weeks before and three weeks after the summer solstice.
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson first used the term Manhattanhenge in 1997. He was inspired by Stonehenge, where the sun aligns with concentric circles of vertical stones on each of the solstices.