The sunset aligns with the Manhattan street grid in this 2013 image. (Photo used with permission from Greg Chow)
New York City is rarely the site of stunning astronomical wonders, but twice a year residents and tourists are treated to a special solar event. During Manhattanhenge, the sun sets perfectly along the city's east-west street grid.
The term "Manhattanhenge" was coined in 2002 by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson in reference to England's Stonehenge, a prehistoric monument known for its mysterious origins and dramatic solstice alignments.
Ever since Tyson brought mainstream attention to Manhattanhenge, hundreds of New Yorkers have established a tradition of gathering along 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, 57th and some parallel streets to witness a stunning skyscraper-framed sunset. In 2017, the "full sun on the grid" — the absolute best Manhattanhenge experience — was on May 30 at 8:12 p.m. New York time. It comes around again on July 12 at 8:20 p.m., and if you miss that one, you can see a so-called "half sun on the grid" the next day, July 13.
The popularity of the event has spiked in recent years, so observers are encouraged to show up at least a half-hour early to get a good view.
Editor's note: This story was originally published in July 2015 and has been updated with more recent information.