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Manhattan Sunset

Astronomy Photo of the Day

Photo by Neil deGrasse Tyson (AMNH)

Explanation: Every 28 May and July 12, Manhattan floods dramatically with sunlight just as the Sun sets precisely on the centerline of every street.

Usually, the tall buildings that line the gridded streets of New York City's tallest borough hide the setting Sun. This effect makes Manhattan a type of modern Stonehenge, although only aligned to about 30 degrees east of north.

Were Manhattan's road grid perfectly aligned to east and west, the effect would occur on the Vernal and Autumnal Equinox, March 21 and September 21, the only two days that the Sun rises and sets due east and west.

But with Manhattan aligned the way it is, it happens every May 28 and July 12. On none of these occasions, however, should you ever look directly at the Sun.

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