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‘Manhattanhenge’ lights up New York City streets

Transcript

Hari Sreenivasan: In New York City, a modern day version of Stonehenge is a delight for residents and visitors alike. It's aptly called Manhattanhenge and it lasts for just a few minutes, if the weather cooperates -- which this year it did.

Thousands run onto the busy streets of New York City to try and capture a rare and dazzling moment. It happens only four days a year when the sunset aligns with Manhattan's street grid, turning the city's high rises into canyon walls with a sunset perfectly in the center. The goal for those out in the streets is that perfect photo.

Onlooker: It is almost spiritual. I've waited too many years to see that. It actually sets exactly in the middle of the street. I didn't expect that but it was very, very nice.

Hari Sreenivasan: More than 200 years ago, the architects who designed Manhattan streets decided to use a grid system with avenues running north and south and streets east to west. As the earth tilts along its axis, the sun eventually is positioned in the perfect place for a sunset view on some of the city's widest streets. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson came up with a name for what happens every year similar to the annual solstice sighting at England's Stonehenge. He dubbed it "Manhattanhenge."

Onlooker: Since we learned about the phenomenon, since Neil deGrasse Tyson named it, we've been following it and so we've been trying to time trips to be here when it happens.

Hari Sreenivasan: This year's view did not disappoint.

Onlooker: We were here three years ago, and we didn't get a successful sunset. It was just cloudy right at the last moment, but tonight it was pretty good.

Hari Sreenivasan: The next Manhattanhenge won't occur until the spring of 2020, weather permitting.

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