Manhattanhenge – July 12 13 2011

by Donald Hanson • July 12, 2011 • PhotographyComments (0)2071

Today and tomorrow at sunset mark the the 2nd and last occurrence of Manhattanhenge in 2011. Today will be the full sun and tomorrow the half sun. That term refers to how much of the sun you can see above the horizon when it is dead center at the end of the street.

Manhattanhenge – sometimes referred to as the Manhattan Solstice – is a semiannual occurrence in which the setting sun aligns with the east–west streets of the main street grid in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. The term is derived fromStonehenge, at which the sun aligns with the stones on the solstices. It was popularized in 2002 by Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History. It applies to those streets that follow the Commissioners’ Plan of 1811, which are laid out in a grid offset 29.0 degrees from true east–west. (The 29.0 degrees should be added to true east and west, making the western bearing approximately 299.0 degrees.) During Manhattanhenge, an observer on one of the gridded east-west streets will see the sun setting over New Jersey directly opposite from the street, along its centerline. Photo above by Mudpig.

Shooting in New York City looking toward New Jersey seems to be the most commonly found images of it found on the internet. But according to B&H Photo, Viewed from the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, the city sparkles as if it’s on fire. Before I knew what Manhattanhenge was, there were days I was shooting New York City and I remember the reflections being so complete and the buildings being fully lit with golden light. Most likely I have shot on or close to one of the previous dates of this event. If you get an chance to shoot it from either direction, check it out.

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