May 29, 2014 at 9:05 PM
(NEW YORK) -- New Yorkers, get ready to snap some incredible Instagram photos. Everyone else, expect to see some breathtaking images from Manhattanhenge, which happens just a few times per year.
The setting sun will perfectly align tonight with the Manhattan street grid, illuminating every cross street straight down the middle on the borough's grid system.
The Manhattanhenge effect for the setting sun occurs twice a year, and in addition to tonight is scheduled to happen again on July 12, with the sun half above and half below the horizon.
A variation in which the lower edge of the glowing orb just touches the horizon when aligned with the grid happens on May 30 and July 11, according to astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who coined the name for the cosmopolitan cosmic event.
Manhattanhenge occurs because the borough's street grid is turned 30 degrees east from due north.
"Had Manhattan's grid been perfectly aligned with the geographic north-south line, then the days of Manhattanhenge would coincide with the equinoxes," Tyson wrote in a blog post.
He said the cosmic event, "may just be a unique urban phenomenon in the world, if not the universe."
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