Skip to content

Almanac Astrology

Here Comes Manhattanhenge!

Learn how the island borough’s famous grid layout serves as a modern-day celestial calendar a few times a year.

Human beings have always been fascinated
by the sky, and for good
reason. Until very recently
in our history, the sky
served countless invaluable
functions. The sky
was our calendar and our
clock, our GPS system,
our television, and more.
Some of the world’s
most well-known landmarks
are either known
or believed to have been
observatories, helping
pre-modern humans to
better understand the celestial
world, and thereby,
their own: Macchu Pichu,
Newgrange, Easter Island,
Chaco Canyon, Angkor
Wat, Stonehenge,
Manhattan …
Wait, Manhattan?
That’s right, the island
borough’s famous grid
layout serves as a modern-
day celestial calendar.
A few times each year,
the sunrises and sunsets
line up perfectly with the
city’s east-west oriented
streets so that the blazing
ball of the sun is framed
by skyscrapers and tenements
as it dips below or
rises above the horizon.
It’s popularly known as
Manhattanhenge. Manhattanhenge
is a term
that was recently popularized
by renowned astrophysicist
Neil deGrasse
Tyson. The term is a nod
to Stonehenge, a prehistoric
located in Wiltshire,
England. Stonehenge consists
of a circle of massive
slabs of stacked stone. An
outlying stone, known as
the Heel Stone, sits so its
tip aligns with the rising
sun on the summer solstice.
Ironically, the term
“henge” from the name
Stonehenge has nothing
to do with astronomy.
It’s an ancient precursor
to our word “hinge,” and
refers to a place where
two things join together.
Stonehenge, then, means
something like, “the place
where all those stones
are stacked together.”
The colloquial usage of
“henge” to refer to any
place where the rising or
setting sun lines
up with the surrounding
architecture has since
spread. Although Manhattanhenge
is perhaps
one of the most dramatic
displays of the phenomenon,
due to its location
on the Atlantic seaboard,
other communities built
on grid plans boast their
own “henges.” There’s
Chicagohenge, Torontohenge,
and even MIT-henge at
the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology (which
may actually have preceded
Manhattanhenge as the
first modern usage of the
term). Most of Manhattan’s
east-west streets are
aligned at about a 29°
angle clockwise from true
east-west. So, twice each
year, a couple of weeks
before and a couple of
weeks after the summer
solstice, when the azimuth
for sunset is 29°
northward of due west,
the setting sun aligns with
the east-west streets at
the moment it sits on the
horizon. This is known as
Half Sun Manhattanhenge
because half of the sun is
below the horizon.
The exact date of the
Manhattanhenges varies
each year, depending on
the date of the summer
solstice, but they usually
fall around at the end of
May and mid-July. The
best streets to capture the
event are the larger cross
streets that ensure the best
views of the west-northwest
horizon (toward
New Jersey), including
14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd,
and 57th. Neil DeGrasse
Tyson notes, “The Empire
State Building and the
Chrysler Building render
34th Street and 42nd
Street especially striking
vistas.” Hunter’s Point
South Park across from
the East River from 42nd
Street is another good
vantage point during the
summer. Just don’t stand
in the middle of the street
when viewing or trying
to capture a photo!We
want to make sure our
readers view Manhattanhenge
safely; remember
to avoid damage to your
eyes and never look
directly into the sun,
especially through an
unfiltered camera lens.
A similar phenomenon
happens near the winter
solstice, usually in January,
but with the rising
sun instead of the setting
sun.2023-2024 Dates –
November 29, 2023 and
January 11, 2024.Typically,
the sun lines up with
streets shortly after 7 a.m.
The best spots to see the
phenomenon are at 41st
Street & 5th Avenue. But
keep in mind, the time
window to see Reverse
Manhattanhenge is more
narrow than during the
summer. Catch the sun
just as it reaches street
Reverse Manhattanhenge
also doesn’t get as much
attention, in part because
fewer people are outdoors
on cold January mornings
(brrrr!), and because
fewer people are awake
during sunrise than at
sunset.Full Sun Manahttanhenges
are generally
considered to be the more beautiful of the two.


What Is Companion Planting?

Companion planting
is a great way to maximize
the efficiency
of your garden. For
almost every vegetable
you grow, there is
likely to be a beneficial
companion plant that
will help increase soil
nutrients, chase away
pests, and help you get
the most out of your
garden. Here are the
10 most popular vegetables
grown in the
United States and their
friends (and foes) in the
Companion Planting –
What Grows Best Next
To Each Other
1. Tomatoes
Friends: Basil and
tomatoes were made to
go together, not only
in sauces but in the
garden, too. This herb
helps tomatoes produce
greater yields and it
repels both flies and
mosquitoes. Marigolds
are another good companion,
repelling nematodes
and other garden
pests. Other friends to
tomatoes include asparagus,
carrots, celery, the
onion family, lettuce,
parsley, and spinach.
Foes: Cabbage, beets,
peas, fennel, dill, and
rosemary. Corn and tomatoes
both suffer from
the corn earworm, and
tomatoes and potatoes
are affected by the same
blight, so keep these
plants separate to prevent
the spread of pests
or disease.
2. Peppers
Friends: Basil is a good
friend to peppers, helping
repel aphids, spider
mites, mosquitoes, and
flies. It’s also thought
that basil improves the
pepper’s flavor. Other
good companions
include onions, spinach,
and tomatoes.
Foes: Beans so the
vines don’t spread
among the pepper
3. Green Beans
Friends: Corn and
beans grow well together
because beans will
grow up the corn stalks,
which means you won’t
have to build them a
trellis. Beans also fix
nitrogen in the
soil, which is good for
the corn. Marigolds,
nasturtiums, rosemary,
and summer savory
repel bean beetles, and
summer savory improves
growth rate and
flavor. Other companions
include broccoli,
Brussels sprouts, and
other members of the
cabbage family along
with cucumbers, peas,
potatoes, and radishes.
Foes: Beets or anything
from the onion family.
Onions, in particular,
impede the growth of
bean plants.
4. Cucumbers
Friends: Plant marigolds
and nasturtiums
among your cucumbers
to repel aphids and
beetles,. Beans, celery,
corn, lettuce, dill, peas,
and radishes are also
good companion plants.
Foes: Aromatic herbs
such as sage which
will stunt the growth of
5. Onions
Friends: Carrots should
be planted near onions
because onions
will repel the carrot
fly. Onions will also
chase away the aphids,
so plant them near
aphid-prone (but onion-
friendly) veggies.
Other good friends of
onions include beets,
cabbage, carrots, lettuce,
parsnips (which
also suffer from carrot
fly), tomatoes, and
spices like marjoram,
savory, and rosemary.
Foes: Asparagus, beans,
and peas.
6. Lettuce
Friends: Plant mint
among your lettuce to
keep away the slugs
that feed on lettuce
leaves, or plant chives
and garlic to repel
aphids. Beans, beets,
broccoli, carrots, corn,
peas, radishes, and
marigolds also work as
good companion plants.
Marigolds attract
aphid-eating ladybugs.
Foes: Parsley, because
it tends to grow into a
small yet bushy plant
and can crowd your
7. Summer Squash/
Friends: Corn and
squash make good
companion plants since
the cornstalks give
squash vines a place to
grow. Squash also does
well planted alongside
beans, peas, radishes,
dill, and marigolds.
Foes: Potatoes, as both
plants are prone to
8. Carrots
Friends: Carrots are
heat sensitive, which is
why they go well with
tomato plants that can
provide them a bit of
shade. Tomatoes are
also known to produce
solanine, which is a
natural insecticide that
targets pests affecting
carrot plants. Tomatoes
benefit from carrots,
too. Carrots aerate the
soil around the roots
of the tomato plants,
allowing more air and
water to reach the roots.
Leeks and carrots are
also good companion
plants since leeks repel
carrot flies and carrots
repel leek moths and
onion flies. Rosemary,
sage, and chive also
help repel carrot flies.
Foes: Coriander and
dill, as they both produce
compounds that
can harm carrot plants,
and parsnips suffer
from the same diseases
and pests as carrots,
so keep them apart to

Leave a Comment