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Here's How You Can See The First Manhattanhenge Of 2014

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Get ready for a pretty spectacular sunset, New Yorkers.

Manhattanhenge is set to take hold of the city on Thursday, May 29, when the sun aligns perfectly with Manhattan's street grid shortly after 8 p.m. ET. For the best view, observers should find a spot on one of the major streets that run east-west across the city. Options include 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd and 57th streets.

Manhattanhenge happens four times a year, in May and July. Skywatchers will be able to see a half-sun starting at 8:16 p.m. ET on Thursday. The full sun will be visible the following evening, on May 30, at 8:18 p.m. ET.

The next opportunity for Manhattanhenge photos will fall on July 11 and July 12.

The term Manhattanhenge was coined by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson in 2002. In a post on the American Museum of Natural History's website, Tyson explains why the alignment does not occur on the equinoxes, as one might expect:

In spite of what pop-culture tells you, the Sun rises due east and sets due west only twice per year. On the equinoxes: the first day of spring and of autumn. Every other day, the Sun rises and sets elsewhere on the horizon. Had Manhattan's grid been perfectly aligned with the geographic north-south line, then the days of Manhattanhenge would coincide with the equinoxes. But Manhattan's street grid is rotated 30 degrees east from geographic north, shifting the days of alignment elsewhere into the calendar.

The New York City Department of Transportation reportedly has no plans to close any streets for Manhattanhenge this month, so viewers are encouraged to stake out a sidewalk spot early. Though the main crosstown streets will provide the best views (remember to face west, toward New Jersey), adjacent streets may also afford a view of the setting sun -- that is, if cloud cover doesn't get in the way.

Cloud-based mapping database CartoDB created a map that shows where Manhattanhenge will be visible in New York City.

Send us your Manhattanhenge photos! You can tweet them using hashtag #HPManhattanhenge, or submit them directly to our gallery. We'll be collecting user photos from all over, and yours may be featured on HuffPost Science.

Can you top last year's photos? Check out these breathtaking images of Manhattanhenge 2013:

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Around the Web

Manhattanhenge 2014 Dates And When To Watch - Business Insider

New York Today: Manhattanhenge - NYTimes.com

Manhattanhenge - American Museum of Natural History

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