Manhattanhenge 2024: Watch it live and find out what time it starts

NEW YORK (AP) — Twice a year, New Yorkers and visitors enjoy a phenomenon known as Manhattanhenge, when the setting sun aligns with Manhattan’s street grid and sinks beneath the skyline framed by a canyon of skyscrapers.

The event is a favorite of photographers and often draws people to the sidewalks on spring and summer evenings to watch this unique sunset.

The first Manhattanhenge of the year occurred on Tuesday at 8:13 pm, with a slight variation that was repeated on Wednesday at 8:12 pm and will occur again on July 12 and 13.

Some background on the phenomenon:

WHERE DOES THE NAME MANHATTANHENGE COME FROM?

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson coined the term in a 1997 article in Natural History magazine. Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, said he was inspired by a visit to Stonehenge when he was a teenager.

The future host of television shows such as PBS’s “Nova ScienceNow” was part of an expedition led by Gerald Hawkins, the scientist who first theorized that the mysterious megaliths at Stonehenge were an ancient astronomical observatory.

It occurred to Tyson, a native New Yorker, that the setting sun framed by the skyscrapers of Manhattan could be compared to the sun’s rays falling on the center of the Stonehenge circle on the solstice.

Unlike the Neolithic builders of Stonehenge, the planners who designed Manhattan did not intend to channel the sun. It just worked that way.

WHEN IS MANHATTANHENGE?

Manhattanhenge does not take place during the summer solstice, which this year is June 20. Instead, it occurs about three weeks before and after the solstice. This is when the sun aligns perfectly with the east-west streets of the Manhattan grid.

Viewers can choose between two different versions of the phenomenon.

On May 28 and July 13, half of the sun will be above the horizon and half below it when it aligns with the streets of Manhattan. On May 29 and July 12, the entire sun will appear to float between buildings just before sinking into the New Jersey skyline across the Hudson River.

WHERE CAN YOU SEE MANHATTANHENGE?

Traditional viewing points are located along the city’s wide east-west thoroughfares: 14th Street, 23rd Street, 34th Street, 42nd Street and 57th Street. The further east you go, the more spectacular the view will be, as the sun’s rays hit the facades of the buildings on both sides. It’s also possible to see Manhattanhenge across the East River in the Long Island City section of Queens.

IS MANHATTANHENGE AN ORGANIZED EVENT?

Manhattanhenge viewing parties are not unheard of, but it’s mostly a DIY affair. People gather on the streets from east to west about half an hour before sunset and take photo after photo as dusk approaches. That’s good weather. There is no Manhattanhenge visible on rainy or cloudy days.

DO OTHER CITIES HAVE ‘HENGES’?

Similar effects occur in other cities with uniform streets. chicagohenge and Baltimorehenge This happens when the setting sun aligns with the grid systems in those cities in March and September, around the spring and autumn equinoxes. torontohenge It occurs in February and October.

But Manhattanhenge is especially striking because of the height of the buildings and the clear path to the Hudson.