The famous street grid of Manhattan is always alight, but not usually like this. This weekend (May 29 and 30) the grid will feature what’s being called Manhattanhenge, which means the setting sun will align perfectly with the street grid, making a shadowless flood of light across the island’s crowded crosstown streets. The Western horizon of the streets will appear to contain the sun.
On Friday evening at 8:12 pm, half of the disk of the sun will align with the grid. Then on Saturday evening, again at 8:12 pm, the full sun aligns at the perfect angle for the grid. (The name Manhattanhenge is a borrowed from Stonehenge in Britain, where the pre-historic arrangement of stones seems coordinates uniquely with the sun on the summer solstice.) And don’t worry if you miss Manhattanhenge this time. It happens again this summer, but only these two times each year. Try these streets for best viewing: 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd and 57th. Astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson writes more about Manhattanhenge at the American Museum of Natural History.