It’s a phenomenon a lot of New Yorkers look forward to, something that renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has dubbed “Manhattanhenge.”
Twice a year, due to the layout of New York City’s street grid, the sun aligns perfectly with a few of the streets.
DeGrasse Tyson got the name, of course, from Stonehenge, the site in the Salisbury Plain, England. On the summer solstice, the sun rises in perfect alignment with a few of the stones, ringing in the start of summer.
The first 2016 Manhattanhenge was scheduled to occur Monday night at 8:12 p.m., and while many had their cameras ready to snap a pic, they were left disappointed.
A cloudy New York night prevented onlookers from snapping pics of a spectacular sunset.
According to deGrasse Tyson, photo buffs will get their next chance on July 11 at 8:20 p.m. ET.
Manhattanhenge occurs at this time of year because it doesn’t always rise due east and set due west. Instead, day after day, it slowly moves northward until summer when it once again begins to settle southward.
According to deGrasse Tyson, the two times it will occur this year is May 30 at 8:12 p.m. and July 11 at 8:20 p.m. local time.
DeGrasse Tyson had some words of advice for those New Yorkers — or even tourists — who want to catch the spectacle.
“For best effect, position yourself as far east in Manhattan as possible,” he posted on the American Museum of Natural History’s website. DeGrasse Tyson is the head of the Museum’s Hayden Planetarium. “But ensure that when you look west across the avenues you can still see New Jersey. Clear cross streets include 14th, 23rd, 34th. 42nd, 57th, and several streets adjacent to them. The Empire State building and the Chrysler building render 34th street and 42nd streets especially striking vistas.”
WATCH: Neil deGrasse Tyson on Manhattanhenge (2013)
The alignment takes place because the city grid is angled at 30 degrees from the geographic north. (If it hadn’t been, then this would have occurred on the spring and fall equinoxes.)
It’s interesting to note that New York isn’t the only city where this occurs, and the news isn’t always good when it does. In Toronto, for example, it occurs twice a year at sunset and sunrise. Global News obtained data over an 11-year period and found that when “Torontohenge” occurs in February at sunset, accidents increased compared to the rest of the month. That could be due to the bright sun at eye level combined with slick roads and grimy windshields.