Here’s a short article about a phenomenon that demonstrates astronomical alignment of buildings even in a modern city. Popular astrophysicist Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson is quoted here about “Manhattanhenge,” a term he coined almost a decade ago. However, I would be very surprised if Manhattan is the only city in the world with astronomical alignments. Certainly, many of the world’s older cities possessed various such alignments, frequently in conjunction with religious structures.This latter development can be described as “astrotheological.” It’s great to see mainstream (and atheistic) scientists like Dr. Tyson discussing this fascinating subject, although it’s too bad many others haven’t followed suit.
The original article is in French, so I have provided a translation.
The Big Apple will be illuminated Wednesday by a particular sunset in which the sun’s rays perfectly aligned with the street layout will engulf the facades of skyscrapers in New York. This phenomenon, which began Tuesday, occurs four times a year in Manhattan.
It has been nicknamed “Manhattanhenge,” a reference to the Stonehenge megalithic site located in the south of England. During the summer and winter solstices, the sun passes along a central axis through this site of stone circles, with historians thinking that the place was used as a solar calendar or for pagan cults.
In Manhattan, the phenomenon takes place before and after the solstices, when the sun sets ablaze all available perspectives at the end of the streets built from East to West.
“Manhattanhenge may be a phenomenon that occurs only in one city in the world,” said astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, of the American Museum of Natural History, who claims the label of this phenomenon.
The man looked at the issue in 1996. It wasn’t until five years later, in July 2001, that he photographed the alignment of the sun with the streets. In 2002, he published new pictures in a special edition of the magazine Natural History. Thus the phenomenon became known.
This year, the first appearance of “Manhattanhenge” occurred on May 30, just before the solstice of June 21. It happens again Wednesday, July 13, with a partial appearance on Tuesday.
The best place to enjoy [this phenomenon] is to be as far east as possible in Manhattan, advises DeGrasse Tyson. 14th, 23rd, 34th and 42nd streets offer incredible perspectives of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler tower.