Apparently the sun will light up the streets of the Big Apple on Memorial Day weekend. This phenomenon is called Manhattanhenge.
The solar energy will sweep the streets of New York City at the Memorial Day weekend when the sun sets. This occurrence is adored by all and is termed Manhattanhenge.
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It happens when the setting sun is in total alignment with the various streets that go from east to west. Manhattan’s grid system is such that the traffic and skyscrapers are gilded by the reddish golden light of the setting sun.
It is basically an event that lasts for two days. It also happens twice a year on diametrically opposite sides of the the summer solstice. The coming Sunday and Monday, this event will be celebrated. Also it will be re-celebrated on July 11th and 12th, according to NYTimes.
The sun appears in two ways on Manhattanhenge. It shows up as a bright cut-grapefruit which illuminates the city. Then it appears as a holistic shining sphere. This contrast is due to its setting along the horizon at which it goes down.
However, what is hard to believe is that this is all contingent. It is a mere accident of sorts. Astrophysicists know this. Way back in the 18th century when the cross streets were constructed, the 90 degree angles formed a target for the sun.
Thus Manhattanhenge is that time of the year when the sun’s rays hit the target in a spot on manner. New York City is not the sole recipient of this phenomenon known as Manhattanhenge. Several other Cityhenges are scattered all over the place. There is Chicagohenge, Bostonhenge, Phillyhenge, Torontohenge and Montrealhenge. If the streets run east to west, this is going to happen.
For those who have a “henge” occurring in their cities, they need to consult their local planetarium staff and employ astronomical and photographic applications in their quest to capture the event when it happens.
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The term “henge” comes from Stonehenge which is a monument that is 5000 years old and exists in England. It had astronomical uses and was also used by Druids, an ancient people, for purposes of worship.