29 May 2008

I Knew There Was A Reason I Took My Sunglasses Today; Manhattanhenge.1 for 2008

Geez, is it that time again already? Time flies watching paint dry.

Manhattanhenge (oft referred to as Manhattan Solstice by insufferable people who drink rlly fancy tea) is a semi-annual occurrence where the setting sun aligns with the east-west streets of Manhattan's main street grid. The grid being the Commissioners' Plan of 1811 which laid out a grid offset 28.9° from true east-west. (Respect the Grid, bitch!)

"Manhattanhenge" was coined in 2002 by my good friend Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist at the Museum of Natural History and serious pizza eater.

At sunset, if you walk along one of the north-south avenues on the West Side whilst looking east you'll see the phenomenon indirectly, being struck by the reflected light of the many windows which are aligned with the grid.

If you're on the East Side you can look west and see the Sun shining down a canyon-like street.

Manhattanhenge will happen again in early July (usually the 12th or 13th).

The corresponding mornings of sunrise right on the center lines of the Manhattan grid are approximately 5 December and 8 January. Mmmmkay?

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