New York City’s special Solstice is upon us.
Big Apple residents and visitors can see the beautiful “Manhattanhenge” this Memorial Day weekend as the sun sets between the buildings on Sunday (May 29) and Monday (May 30), especially if you visit around the 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd and 57th around are streets.
The phenomenon occurs twice a year when the setting sun aligns with east-west streets in New York City during fair weather. If you can’t catch it, the next opportunity is on July 12-13, according to EarthSky (opens in new tab).
Related: Stonehenge may have been used as a solar calendar
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“Viewers can also view the phenomenon from the Tudor City Overpass in Manhattan or Hunter’s Point South Park in Long Island City, Queens,” EarthSky explained.
“It doesn’t matter where you watch the sunset,” added EarthSky (opens in new tab)“make sure you’re as far east as possible while keeping New Jersey in the background across the Hudson River to accentuate the effect.”
The name “Manhattanhenge” is borrowed from Stonehenge (opens in new tab)the famous English Neolithic monument, whose sars stones and alignment with landmarks in the area are meant to reflect the movements of the sun, according to preservationist English Heritage (opens in new tab).
“If you were to stand in the center of the stone circle on Midsummer’s Day, the sun rises directly to the left of the ‘Heel Stone’, an outlying stone northeast of the monument,” explained English Heritage.
The winter solstice also has an alignment, English Heritage added. “On a midwinter day turning 180 degrees southwest, the sun would originally have set between the two poles of the tallest [stone monument]at the top of the sarsen horseshoe.”
While the summer solstice tends to attract revelers, COVID conditions permitting, archeology suggests the winter solstice may have been more important in the Neolithic period, English Heritage said on another site (opens in new tab). That’s because Durrington Walls, a settlement just 2 miles from Stonehenge believed to have housed the builders of the monument, has ample evidence of festivals in the colder months.
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Many urban environments get the same effect as Manhattan does at some point in the year due to the sun’s orientation relative to buildings, EarthSky explained.
This is because the position of the sunset on the horizon is constantly shifting due to the tilt of the Earth’s axis to our orbit. Manhattan’s city grid is typically located at 29 degrees east of true north to reflect the island’s orientation.
“At this time of year — between the March equinox and the June solstice — each day the point of sunset shifts north on the horizon as seen from around the world,” EarthSky explained.
“It’s the northward shifting path of the sun that gives us summer in the northern hemisphere and winter in the southern hemisphere…it’s the shifting path of the sun that gives people different orientations of the sunset with familiar landmarks.”
https://www.livescience.com/manhattanhenge-nyc-2022-memorial-day-weekend Don’t miss the first ‘Manhattanhenge’ of 2022 this Memorial Day weekend