Friday, July 13, 2007

Manhattanhenge July 2007

Session name: 20070712.1945

The second occurrence of Manhattanhenge is Friday the Thirteenth, 13 July 2007 when the event begins approximately 8:20PM EDT and the sunsets 8:27PM EDT. The weather forecast for this date had not been promising so I took advantage of the clear skies this day.

In the past I have observed Manhattanhenge with throngs of others at 34th & Park Ave. Along the sidewalks we wait for the light to change red and rush for the yellow centerline, jockeying for the best position. Those in the foreground obscure our view of the horizon and soil the photo opportunity. This year I observed both events from Summit Rock in Central Park where I can set up unencumbered without any obstacles and remain stationary for the entire event. Two other folks observed sunset from the hillock behind me.

Sunset was too bright for the naked eye - a "painful" brilliance. I watched the entire sunset through the homemade solar paddle and on the small LCD of the camera.

A Manhattanhenge movie created from a series of digital stills taken on 12 July 2007 around 8:15pm with a Nikon Coolpix 995 from Summit Rock in Central Park (map). The view is looking west over the valley of 83rd St into the Palisades of New Jersey across the Hudson River. The duration from when the Sun first breaks the building to sunset is approximately 11 minutes 30 seconds. (Haven't calibrated the camera's clock with actual time.)

After the Sun set, I observed the horizon with handheld 7x50 binoculars. A low hanging cloud caught my attention where the upper rim glowed neon orange-red. It is pictured below and this was a first for me. I don't know the proper term for this atmospheric phenomenon.

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Want to learn more details. Astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Director of the American Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium, describes the circumstances of this NYC phenomenon in a few places. Check out the following to get started.

Nova scienceNow : Manhattanhenge videocast

American Museum of Natural History: Manhattan-henge (star-struck article)