'Manhattanhenge': Photographers flock to capture solar phenomenon

People take a look at the phenomenon known as Manhattanhenge on 42nd Street on May 30, 2018 in New York CityImage copyright
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A crowd watches the event from 42nd Street

Crowds of photographers have gathered in carefully selected spots in New York to witness a stunning sight known as “Manhattanhenge”.

On Wednesday night, at 20:12 local time, all east-west streets on the city’s grid system were spectacularly illuminated by the setting sun.

The event happens twice a year and sees the sun framed perfectly by New York’s towering skyscrapers.

It is hugely popular on social media where people share their best pictures.

People take pictures of the phenomenon known as Manhattanhenge on Times SquareImage copyright
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A large crowd stopped to watch the sun set from Times Square

The name “Manhattanhenge” was coined by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson in 1996.

He was inspired by the UK’s Stonehenge, where the sun aligns with concentric circles of vertical stones on each of the solstices.

During the New York phenomenon, the sun sets between the city’s skyscraper corridors and simultaneously illuminates the north and south sides of the streets.

There are similar “henge” phenomena in other cities with large numbers of skyscrapers and long straight streets – such as Chicago, Montreal and Toronto .

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But eager photographers should plan ahead, as the best spots to view the event fill up quickly.

Here, a large crowd gathers at Tudor City on 42nd Street.

People gather at Tudor City on 42nd St in Manhattan to watch and photograph the phenomenon known as ManhattanhengeImage copyright

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One of the busier viewing spots was at Tudor City in Manhattan

Things don’t always go to plan.

Some obstacles faced by keen photographers include oblivious bus drivers and thick cloud.

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There is also a winter version of the event that occurs during December and January, but that is when the sun rises.

The next opportunity for people to catch the dramatic Manhattanhenge sunset will be on the 12 July.

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