Manhattanhenge: Crowds Gather To See A Star Align Twice a year, the sunset lines up with New York City's street grid — making for spectacular views. Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York, identified the cosmic event over a decade ago and coined the name Manhattanhenge.
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Manhattanhenge: Crowds Gather To See A Star Align

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Manhattanhenge: Crowds Gather To See A Star Align

Manhattanhenge: Crowds Gather To See A Star Align

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Flora Lichtman is here now with our Video Pick of the Week. Hi, Flora.


FLATOW: What do you got for us this week?

LICHTMAN: This week, we have a pretty cool, cosmic event, I think.


LICHTMAN: It's called Manhattanhenge.

(Soundbite of whistle)

LICHTMAN: I was just thinking we need some eerie music.

FLATOW: Yes, we do. You mean, like, Stonehenge? Manhattanhenge?

LICHTMAN: Yes. Its namesake is Stonehenge, although it doesn't have to do with the Solstice, really. It was dubbed Manhattanhenge over a decade ago by the head of the Hayden Planetarium, we know…

FLATOW: Neil deGrasse Tyson.

LICHTMAN: Yes, exactly.

FLATOW: And it - what happens during the Manhattanhenge?

LICHTMAN: It is the day or the time during the year when the sunset lines up with the Manhattan street grid.

FLATOW: So you look down the street, you see the sun setting.

LICHTMAN: That's right. That's it.

(Soundbite of laughter)

LICHTMAN: But it actually looks really cool.

FLATOW: That's very cool. You have to see it. It's at It's our video Pick of the Week. We have actually a time lapse. We did a very nice time - the sun setting on - and you can see it in many streets or just in one street?

LICHTMAN: At any cross street that has a view of Jersey, you can see. Because you need the horizon.

FLATOW: You need the horizon.

LICHTMAN: So that's a key thing. And we were on 42nd Street, which has a nice bridge going over, so we got a…

FLATOW: Right.

LICHTMAN: …a straight shot view.

FLATOW: But if you live in Washington D.C., which has a grid system, or a lot of different towns, do you have your own?

LICHTMAN: You might have your own henge.

FLATOW: You have your own henge.

LICHTMAN: I mean, Dr. Tyson intimates that this might be a New York phenomena. But I can't tell if that's just because he's a New Yorker…

FLATOW: He's from the Bronx (unintelligible).

LICHTMAN: Yeah, exactly. Right.

(Soundbite of laughter)

LICHTMAN: So if - you know, if there is a Wichitahenge, it would be great to know.

FLATOW: We want to know about it.

LICHTMAN: Yeah, we'd like to know.

FLATOW: Yes. If you have a henge and your - you have a henge in your city, in other words, the sun setting down a certain street and you can see it set there.

LICHTMAN: And it's framed…

FLATOW: And it's framed.

LICHTMAN: …basically, by the building.

FLATOW: Send us a video of it or tell us about it.

LICHTMAN: Send us a video or a photo.

FLATOW: Yeah. And we'd love to know about it and we'll put it on our SCIENCE FRIDAY site.

LICHTMAN: Yeah. And you can actually track - I mean, you can buy a program that'll track the path of the sun. So you can figure this out. Simple planetarium programs let you do this.

FLATOW: And people come out to see this when you were out filming this, right?

LICHTMAN: It was unbelievable. I mean, there were, like, at least 50 people ooh-ing and aah-ing. There was clapping. It was - you know?

FLATOW: In the middle of the street, taking pictures of the sun setting over Jersey.


(Soundbite of laughter)

LICHTMAN: But - I mean, we should - it actually is cool looking. It's worth it.

FLATOW: It is, no, it's great. It's beautiful. And you've done a great job with it, as always.

LICHTMAN: Thanks, Ira.

FLATOW: That's Flora Lichtman, our video producer. And the Manhattanhenge, as I say, is at on our Video Pick of the Week. If you have your own henge with your own city, we'd love to see it. Please, send it to us.

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