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Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Chris Goldberg/Flickr Manhattanhenge

Where to catch the Manhattanhenge sunrise tomorrow

Shaye Weaver

The glorious phenomenon that is Manhattanhenge is back, but this time, you'll need to get up early if you want to see it.

The Instagrammable moment when the sun shines through the Manhattan grid at just the right angle is happening again on Wednesday, January 22 at around 7:15am. And the best place to see it? 41st Street and Fifth Avenue.

There are moments in January each year that Manhattanhenge occurs (this year it also happened on January 11 and 12) and it is very street-dependent, according to Jackie Faherty, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History.

"There are lots of buildings and structures in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx that will change when you can see the sun," she says. "You’ve got to view it when the sun rises above the horizon, so you’ll have to be up pretty early."

The intersection of 41st Street and Fifth Avenue is the prime viewing spot this time around, she said.

The Manhattanhenge most New Yorkers are familiar with and turn out to see (between 14th and 57th streets) is in the evening during the summer months.

The term was coined by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

"The sun does not set in the same place on the horizon each day," he says. "In fact, when people recite that the sun ‘rises in the east and sets in the west,’ that’s only true for two days per year—the spring and fall equinoxes. In principle, any city with a rectangular street grid would have a ‘henge’ but not all grids extend to the horizon.

According to Faherty, it happens in the morning because we are on the other side of our orbit around the sun.

"That means when we are close to the summer solstice, the sun aligns with the west side of the Manhattan grid and when we are close to the winter solstice, the sun aligns with the east side of the Manhattan grid (sunrise)," she said.

Not about waking up earlier than usual to catch a glimpse? Faherty says the evening Manhattanhenges are set for May 29 at 8:13pm, May 29 at 8:12pm, July 11 at 8:20pm and July 12 at 8:21pm. Or you can check out these classic photos of Manhattanhenge.


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