Davenhenge

Derived from Manhattanhenge, which itself follows from Stonehenge, Davenhenge marks the day when the setting sun aligns precisely with the Davenport street grid, creating a radiant glow of light across both the north and south sides of most streets in the city. I took this photo looking west on 2nd Street from near the foot of the Government Bridge. Here the full disk of the sun is slightly above the horizon and shining through the sky bridge. The tall buildings that line the streets create a vertical channel to frame the setting sun, helping to create a striking image.

Tomorrow offers another opportunity, when the half disk, rather than the full disk, might intersect the horizon as the sun sets farther south in its annual journey.

This phenomena is surely visible in many other places that have an east-west grid. Beyond the grid you need a clear view to the horizon, as Davenport has to the west. And tall buildings that create a manmade canyon add to the effect. Chicago, for example, must have a good display on these dates around the equinox because the east-west grid and tall buildings are present.

Nearby, Moline offers a more unusual setting because its grid is oriented WSW to ENE. My friend Curt Roseman and the Stewartville City Council celebrate Molinehenge at sunrise in late May and late July on Moline’s 5th Avenue.

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