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OUT OF THIS WORLD | Earth, Space and Everything In-Between - a daily journey through weather, space and science with meteorologist/science writer Scott Sutherland

Torontohenge to deliver spectacular sunsets for the GTA


Scott Sutherland
Meteorologist/Science Writer

Wednesday, February 14, 2018, 12:18 PM - Are you ready for Torontohenge? Glance down any of the 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 sunsets.

Years ago, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson coined the term "Manhattanhenge", to denote certain days of the year when the setting Sun lines 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, June 3, 2008. Credit: Sevtibidou/Wikimedia Commons

Manhattan isn't the only city that sees this phenomenon, though.

Toronto experiences this as well, and - appropriately enough - this has come to be known as Torontohenge.

On Saturday, February 17 and Sunday, February 18, we will have the first sunset Torontohenges for 2018, when the setting Sun lines up with the GTA's east-west aligned streets.


The orientation of the Sun at sunrise (yellow), local noon (orange) and sunset (red), for someone at King St and Yonge St, in Toronto, on February 17, 2018. Credit: Vladimir Agafonkin/SunCalc.net

The best places for viewing this phenomenon are along streets such as King Street, Adelaide Street, or Bloor Street, which are straight, have tall buildings lining both sides, and have a relatively unobstructed view of the western horizon. Try any of the cross streets from Church Street to University Avenue, or possibly even farther west, as long as there are still tall buildings framing the view.

Sunset occurs at 5:49 p.m. EST on Saturday, and this should be the "Half-Sun" version, where the Sun will be halfway above the horizon as it lines up with Toronto's streets. On Sunday, Sunset is at 5:50 p.m. EST, and this should be the "Full-Sun" version, where the whole Sun is visible above the horizon.

To get the whole experience, though, plan to head outside sometime between 5:15 and 5:30, and then 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 there will be great conditions for this event!

If you happen to miss this Torontohenge, there are three more occurring in 2018. Two will be visible at sunrise, best viewed along the same streets mentioned above, but from somewhere around Spadina Avenue, on both April 22/23 and August 19/20. The final Torontohenge of 2018 will be another sunset one, on October 23/24.

Also 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.

Share the event!

If you do manage to catch this event, and you have a camera handy, send us your pictures at @weathernetwork on Twitter, or follow the link to upload your picture to our UGC gallery!

Editors note: A previous version of this article claimed that Thursday, Feb 15 and Friday, Feb 16 were the dates of Torontohenge. Although the Sun will be lined up directly down Toronto's E-W streets right at sunset on those dates, it actually isn't until Saturday, Feb 17 and Sunday, Feb 18 that we can get the best views of this event.

Sources: Hayden Planetarium | SunCalc.net | TimeandDate.com

Watch Below: Tips on shooting the perfect sunset photo



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