You’ve probably heard of Stonehenge, the most expensive of the ancient henges to be built, and possibly Avebury henge, the largest stone henge built in the ancient world. But did you know that Manhattan, in NYC, was built to form a henge? Twice a year, the streets (or city grid) line up perfectly with the setting sun. As it sets, the sun lights up both the north and south sides of every cross street illuminating the tall buildings as though they were canyon walls.
Some have speculated that if, in the future, some archaeologists uncover NYC, would they believe our nation worshiped the sun, the earth, or mother nature? That’s what scientists assumed when they found these other henges from antiquity. Probably not because they’d uncover enough stuff to see that Americans worship money and the things that money can buy. 🙂
When to Watch
The best viewing days for 2012 are/were:
May 29th at 8:17 PM and July 12th at 8:25 PM. Arrive a half hour earlier than the given times to get the full effect. On those evenings the sun will set displaying half its disk above and half its disk below the horizon.
If you observe the sunset on May 30th at 8:16 PM or July 11th at 8:24 PM, you’ll see the entire ball of the sun on the horizon, which is also a spectacular scene.
Get as far east as you can on one of the city’s major thoroughfares, such as 14th, 23rd, 42nd, or 57th streets. Look west towards New Jersey. 34th and 42nd streets provide an especially nice view.
The picture to the right is copyrighted by Neil deGrasse Typson, 2001-2012. It shows the sunset looking down 34th street.
Til the next time!