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The return of Manhattanhenge

New York City's celestial alignment is back
Manhattanhenge, 2009
Manhattanhenge, 2009

It's that time of year again, time when New Yorkers, nerds, photographers, and the occasional informed tourist flood the cross streets at sunset to catch a glimpse of Manhattanhenge. Coined and popularized by Neil Tyson, Manhattanhenge is when the sun sets directly in line with the east-west grid of Manhattan. If the island were aligned perfectly along the north-south direction, this would only happen on the spring and autumn equinoxes. But since we are titled around 30 degrees to the southwest, it happens a few weeks before and after the summer solstice as the Sun's path across the sky shifts with the seasons. Viewing opportunities actually come in pairs because the effect is striking enough with either half or the full disk of the Sun sliding between the sky scrapers and lighting up the cross streets.

If you are new to this phenomenon, you can catch up with this whiteboard video I did on it back in 2010. And if you are anywhere off the island, you can watch this video I took of it May 30, 2010, and plan your trip to New York to catch it again later this summer on July 11th and 12th.

For any locals reading this, get thee to a cross street by 8:00pm EDT to watch the magic happen! And if you miss it tonight, you get another chance tomorrow.

Tweet us your pics to @MaddowBlog.

Manhattanhenge, 2009