Friday, October 25th 2019, 10:58 am - Get your cameras ready!
Glance down any of Downtown Toronto's east-west aligned streets, just before sunset on Saturday and Sunday, and have your camera ready to capture a couple of spectacular images.
Years ago, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson coined the term 'Manhattanhenge', to describe certain days of the year when the setting Sun will line up perfectly along the streets of Manhattan.
Framed by the tall skyscrapers of the New York City borough, this produces an effect similar to what the ancient druids produced when they erected Stonehenge, in what is now Wiltshire county, in southwest England.
Manhattanhenge along 42nd St, June 3, 2008. Credit: Sevtibidou/Wikimedia Commons
Manhattan isn't the only place that sees this phenomenon, though.
Toronto experiences this as well, and - appropriately enough - this has come to be known as 'Torontohenge'.
Saturday, October 26 and Sunday, October 27 are the best days to view Torontohenge in Fall of 2019. On these nights, the setting Sun lines up perfectly with downtown Toronto's east-west aligned streets.
The orientation of the Sun at sunrise (yellow) and sunset (orange), for someone at the intersection of King St and Yonge St, in Toronto, on October 26, 2019. Credit: Vladimir Agafonkin/SunCalc.net
The best places for viewing this phenomenon are probably along King Street, Adelaide Street, or Bloor Street, in downtown Toronto. On King Street, outside of Roy Thompson Hall, is especially good.
Any road that is straight, with tall buildings lining both sides, and has a relatively unobstructed view of the western horizon, will produce the desired effect, though.
Sunset occurs at 6:17 p.m. ET on Saturday, and this should be the "Half-Sun" version of Torontohenge. This is where, as viewed from between the tall buildings, the Sun will be halfway above the horizon as it lines up with Toronto's streets. On Sunday, Sunset is at 6:15 p.m. ET, and this should be the "Full-Sun" version, where the whole Sun is visible just above the horizon.
To get the whole experience, though, plan to head outside starting around 5:45 p.m. both evenings, so you can watch as the Sun slowly comes into alignment between the buildings.
CLEAR SKIES OR CLOUDY?
Based on the weekend weather forecast, as of Thursday, it looks as though it may be hit-or-miss for Saturday, but Sunday is expected to have excellent conditions.
Light rain is expected across the city Saturday evening, so it is fairly likely that we will see at least the western sky clouded over during sunset.
On Sunday, the rain is expected to be gone by late afternoon, leaving only partly cloudy conditions for the evening.
If neither of these nights ends up being good for you, giving it a try on Monday or Tuesday will likely still provide some great views, even though the Sun doens't line up perfectly on the horizon.
A CALL FOR CAUTION
If it does remain clear, with the setting sun shining straight down the streets of Toronto, the glare will undoubtedly make things difficult for those who are behind the wheel.
Whether the Sun is directly in your eyes as you drive west, or in your rear-view mirror as you drive east, extra care should be taken during the afternoon commutes for the rest of this week, so that we can all arrive at our destinations, safe and sound.
If you are out in downtown Toronto to see Torontohenge for yourself, also be very careful when viewing. There is a great temptation to step out into the middle of the street to capture the perfect view, but be mindful of traffic, and the potential impact of glare on the ability for any driver to see you.