A few days ago I read about the phenomenon of Manhattanhenge – the phenomenon that occurs several times a year when the rising or setting sun happens to align perfectly with the canyons of New York City. It is called Manhattanhenge in honor of Stonhenge… which is in putative alignment with its own set of heavenly circuits.

Image from New York Bridge and Tunnel Club

I really never thought about the fact that the streets of Manhattan don’t run perfectly East-West. They are aligned with the long axis of the island itself, about thirty degrees off of the meridian.

I began to think about Dallas, so I pulled up a map. The streets in downtown, the ones that run between the skyscrapers – Commerce, Main, Elm – don’t run perfectly East-West either. I don’t know what the layout is based on… probably where the deer and the antelope used to roam. Looking around the internet, I found suncalc.net, which made it easy to find the directions of sunrise and sunset at different times of the year.

According to suncalc.net in 2012 Downtown Dallas, the Sunset Stonehenge moment will be at 6:13 PM on February 15, and the Sunrise Stonehenge will be 6:53 AM on April 19th. That’s when the sun will rise/set right along the canyons of buildings along the streets downtown. I’m going to try to remember and be there to take some pictures.

One big question is where. I’m going to have to go downtown and walk around and look for good places. Commerce, Main, and Elm all have a lot of tall buildings lining the sidewalks, but it’s hard to tell where the best spot is. One problem is the Lew Sterrett Center sticks up at the west end of Downtown; the jail will block the sun.

Another problem is how to get the picture without getting run over. The streets of downtown are busy at the evening hour and I’ll have to wait for a walk signal, run out into the street, take a snap, and then get the hell out of Dodge. Looking through Google Maps I found this:

Googlemap Streetview

Maybe that pedestrian overpass would be a good spot. I’ll have to check it out and make sure it’s open to the public and that the glass is clean.

It would be cool to have a group down there taking photographs. If any of y’all are interested, get with me, and we can talk.

If the weather is bad, another Stonehenge Sunrise will come on August 23rd (6:57) and another Stonehenge Sunset will occur on October 25 (6:43).

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Chicago is interesting because its streets do run straight East-West. Therefore, their “henge” is on the equinox.



9 responses to “Dallashenge

  1. Pingback: Test Shots for Dallashenge | Bill Chance

  2. You’ve opened my worldview even more. These “city-henges” are awesome. In Salt lake City, Brigham Young had the layout of the city in 10 acre blocks with East-West-North-South street alignment. I’ll have to check out the sunrises / sunsets of the city. Where (besides the city) do I begin, mathwise? Let me know when you have a moment.

    P.S. The best I did in my university Chemistry courses was a C+. All apologies 😉

  3. Pingback: Dallashenge Photographs | Bill Chance

  4. Hey Bill…
    I have plans to head downtown tomorrow morning to see this….on twitter? I’m betsyvonawesome contact me and hopefully we can meet up.


  5. Pingback: Morning Dallashenge – maybe a couple days early | Bill Chance

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