Manhattanhenge 2018 Dates: When, Where, How to Watch Sunset

People crowd the streets of Manhattan every year, braving oncoming traffic to try and catch a glimpse of the setting sun aligning with the city streets. The event, called Manhattanhenge, was popularized by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Tyson explained Manhattanhenge in a video, including his theory that anthropologists in the future might think Manhattan was purposefully arranged to align with the sun.

Spectators sometimes view the phenomenon from the sidewalk of the city streets, but others use the crosswalks as a way to mosey into the street to stare straight down the center of the road at the sun. Anyone who plans to take in the sunset on one of the Manhattanhenge days should remember that staring directly at the sun is never safe. Even if it's late in the day and the sun is setting, the rays can still cause eye damage.

Manhattanhenge dates aren’t exactly the same every year because of the way the Earth rotates continuously. But every year, the days are fairly equally spaced around the summer solstice, which is on June 21 this year but can be between the 20th and 22nd on other years.

When Is Manhattanhenge 2018?

Manhattanhenge will occur on four days this year. On two of those days, only half of the sun will be visible on the grid; the other two will feature the entire sun on the grid.

The streets on these days tend to fill with people trying to snap a photo or just watch the sun set. Try to arrive about a half-hour early to grab a spot and to watch as the sun makes it descent, according to the American Museum of Natural History.

Half sun: May 29, 2018, 8:13 p.m. EDT; July 13, 2018, 8:21 p.m. EDT

Full sun: May 30, 8:12 p.m. EDT; July 12, 8:20 p.m. EDT

manhattanhenge A view of the "Manhattanhenge" sunset from Hunters Point South Park, on July 11, 2016, in the Queens borough of New York City. Manhattanhenge is created when the setting sun aligns with the city's street grid. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Where to See Manhattanhenge

As the name suggests, Manhattanhenge happens every year in Manhattan. The event can be seen from clear cross streets, meaning the streets that run across the avenues and don’t have anything blocking them at the end. The best streets are those where a viewer gazing west can see New Jersey at the end, according to the AMNH.

Some of the best streets include 14th, 23rd, 34th and 42nd. Further uptown, 57th Street is a good one to catch the sunset.

manhattanhenge standing in street People watch and photograph the sunset on 14th Street during 'Manhattanhenge' on May 29, 2013 in New York City. This semiannual occurrence happens each summer when the setting sun aligns east-west with the street grid of the city. Mario Tama/Getty Images

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