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The Gotham Equinox
Copyright 2005 Steve Kluge

Go to this photo, taken at sunset looking along 34th Street in midtown Manhattan (New York City). Notice that the setting sun is perfectly aligned with the long, straight street.

Now take a look at this map of Manhattan, centered on the spot the photo was taken. (you can click "Satellite" in the upper right hand corner of the map for a zoom-able satellite image, too!)

    Notice the orientation of the crosstown streets on the map, and answer the following questions:

  1. What direction was the photographer facing as he took the picture?

  2. Around what date (or dates) could the photograph have been made? EXPLAIN how you know!

  3. Read the paragraph at this Astronomy Picture of the Day, and if you didn't already list and explain 2 possible dates near those mentioned in the article, explain why the sun lines up the way it does in late May and mid-July.

  4. On what days of the year does the rising Sun line up with 34th Street?

  5. Some New Yorkers call the 4 days of the year that the rising or setting Sun aligns with the crosstown streets the "Gotham Equinoxes" ("Gotham" is a nickname for New York). Explain why the term Equinox not a good one to describe those dates?