'Manhattanhenge' phenomenon: Sun sets on New York's iconic skyline 

The event takes its name from its Sommerset counterpart

Tourists taking well-timed summer breaks and New Yorkers alike enjoyed a rare celestial treat over the weekend, as the sunset aligned with the iconic skycrapers of the city's skyline.

Known as the Manhattenhenge, the phenomenon owes its name to Stonehenge in Somerset, where druids flock to watch the sun rise in perfect alignment with the neolithic pillars during the spring equinox.

As the New York district sits around 30 degrees east from due north, Manhattanhenge sees the sun align precisely with the district's carefully planned street grid, but falls on 29 May and 12 July instead of the spring and autumn equinoxes.

Read more: Manhattanhenge 2014: New York's answer to Stonehenge

While on 11 July the sun appears in the sky as a striking, glowing ball, the true Manhattenhenge event sees the sun sit above the horizon as half a disk, illuminating the buildings lining the east-west streets.

Unfortunately, this year the 8:25pm ET sunset was obstructed by clouds.

Even so, crowds armed with cameras flocked nearby the iconic Empire State and Chrysler buildings on 34th and 42nd street, in an attempt to capture the perfect shot. Views from 14th, 23rd, 57th, and several streets adjacent to them also offer stunning views.

Popular US astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium, Neil de Grasse Tyson, coined the term Manhattanhenge in 1996.

In his explanation of phenomenon, Tyson jokes that academics of the future will link the celestial event with Memorial Day (26 May) Baseball's All Star Day (16 July), in the same way modern-day archaeologists mark a significance between Stonehenge and the Summer Solstice.

“Future anthropologists might conclude that, via the Sun, the people who called themselves Americans worshiped War and Baseball,” quipped Tyson.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits