What Is Manhattanhenge, A Celestial Event That Dazzles Spectators With Perfect Sunset Alignment In Manhattan?

Discover the magic of this celestial event!

by Mallika Khurana
What Is Manhattanhenge, A Celestial Event That Dazzles Spectators With Perfect Sunset Alignment In Manhattan?

Imagine the sun setting in perfect alignment with the steel and glass canyons of New York City, its glowing orb framed by the towering skyscrapers that line Manhattan’s streets. This breathtaking spectacle is known as Manhattanhenge, a term that combines “Manhattan” with “Stonehenge,” the ancient English site famous for its solstitial alignments. Here’s everything you need to know about this unique urban event.

What Is Manhattanhenge?

Manhattanhenge is a phenomenon during which the setting sun aligns precisely with the east-west streets of the main grid of Manhattan, creating a radiant glow that floods the city’s corridors. This celestial event occurs twice a year, and on these days, the sunset aligns with the grid of the city, making for spectacular photo opportunities and an awe-inspiring visual experience.

The phenomenon happens in two phases: a “full sun” alignment, where the entire disk of the sun is visible just above the horizon and nestled between buildings, and a “half sun” alignment, where the sun appears to bisect the horizon.

 The spectacle of a massive celestial body perfectly aligning with the city’s rigid, human-made grid is a stunning convergence of nature and urban life. It is also a dream for photographers. The sight of the sun nestled between the towering skyscrapers, casting long shadows and illuminating the city’s streets in a warm, golden glow, makes for incredible photographs.

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Spectacular Images Shared By Netizens

The sun, perfectly framed by the skyscrapers, casts a golden hue over the bustling streets.

Aligned precisely between the buildings, the sun illuminates the entire street in warm light.

The sun setting directly in line with the street creates a glowing pathway of light.

The sunset highlights the sun’s perfect alignment with the grid and the vibrant colours of the sky.

The sun sets between the buildings, with pedestrians and traffic bathed in the golden glow of the event.

For a few moments twice a year, New Yorkers are reminded of their place in the cosmos as they witness the sun setting perfectly in line with their city’s streets. Whether you’re a lifelong resident or a visiting tourist, Manhattanhenge is an unforgettable experience that underscores the unique beauty of the urban environment and its relationship with the natural world.

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva