Solar Junkies Get Ready for 'Manhattanhenge'

Twice a year, New Yorkers are able to witness a popular phenomenon known as "Manhattanhenge" where the sun aligns perfectly with the city streets resembling the same occurrence as England's Stonehenge.

The term "Manhattanhenge" was actually coined by astrophysicist and director of the American Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium Neil deGrasse Tyson back in 2002. He coined it because the light cascading down the west-east streets mimicked the light that shines through the stones during the summer solstice in the Salisbury Plain in England.

"Manhattanhenge" usually happens around the summer solstice and not on the solstice itself because of the way the streets were arranged.

The famous Manhattan grid pattern has been duplicated all over the world and has allowed for this man-made event.

Based on the Commissioners' Plan of 1811 the streets do not fall perfectly with the geographic north-south line. The street's grid is rotated some 29 degrees east which is why "Manhattanhenge" does not fall on the exact days of the two equinoxes each year, which is the first day of spring and fall, according to

New York is not the only place where the city's street grid layout allows for this occurrence. Cities with a uniform street grid will get to see the sun perfectly align with some of the streets such as Chicago on September 25, Toronto on October 25 and February 16 and in Montreal on July 12.

Veterans of "Manhattanhenge" explained that the best spots for viewing are on the eastern edge of Manhattan, in order to get the full effect.

When looking for the best spot it is advantageous to make sure that the view is not obstructed and that New Jersey is visible just below the horizon.

Looking west, the widest and most open streets available for viewing are 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd and 57th.

"Manhattanhenge" can be seen tonight and again on July 13.